I genuinely believe there is a place, at least one day, for Democratic congressional candidate Jessica Ehrlich in the public arena. She is ambitious, capable and knowledgeable. She is committed to and passionate about her beliefs.
That said, I don't think she's prepared to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. And I absolutely believe she is not a better choice than Republican Congressman Bill Young.
What's increasingly disturbing about Ehrlich and her campaign is the rhetoric she is employing. It's not only disrespectful, it sounds desperate.
Case in point is a very recent fundraising email from Ehrlich to one of her supporters.
In the email, Ehrlich writes, "Did you hear Bill Young took a vacation so he could come home and raise money from special interests? ... (H)e is raising money for attack ads."
Attack ads? Are you serious, Jessica? Attack ads against whom?
Ehrlich can't really believe that Young – who hasn't run an "attack ad" in decades – is suddenly going to stoop to that level.
“Congressman Young has never run a negative campaign in his career and he certainly has no need to respond to such a silly accusation from his opponent in this year’s race," said David Jolly, a former staffer to Young. "I’m at least glad to hear his opponent believes both candidates should run on a positive message. That’s certainly the Congressman’s intent.”
I have to agree with Jolly. I understand Ehrlich needs to motivate her supporters to donate to her, but to do so by attempting to portray Young as some sort of Bogeyman seems desperate. Disagree with Young on the issues, certainly. But to make him out as a typical politician? Nah, that won't work.
In fact, as Jolly points out, the claim of Young being beholden to "special interest money" is "preposterous and is growing very, very old."
"FEC reports will show over 1,000 contributions to Mr. Young’s campaign from his neighbors right here in Pinellas County," said Jolly.
If Ehrlich's true intent for running against Young is to position herself for a later run when Young retires, it's important that she comport herself in a way that does not damage her viability.
Having made up false charges about Bill Young is certainly not how Jessica Ehrlich wants to remembered, right?