Does Jessica Ehrlich embody the future of Florida Democrats?

The mold of the future Democratic candidate in Florida?

She is young. She is bright. She is good looking. She is experienced in government.

She is Jessica Ehrlich.

Prior to today, I really didn’t know much about Jessica Ehrlich. I just knew that she was a candidate to unseat Bill Young, who might be the most ineffective Member of Congress, showing almost no legislative accomplishments in the last 39 years. I thought that Cliff Stearns was extremely ineffective, but Bill Young really takes the cake.

But looking more and more into Jessica Ehrlich, this candidate really does have the resume. Let me just list what she has on her website:

A graduate of Vanderbilt University and Southern Methodist University School of Law, and a former clerk for the Chief Judge of the U.S. Federal Court for Middle Florida in Tampa, Ehrlich worked in international business and in law before transitioning to public service. Ehrlich worked for then U.S. Representative Clay Shaw (R-FL) on the Social Security Subcommittee of the Committee on Ways and Means. She then served as counsel for U.S. Representative Stephen Lynch (D-MA) on the Financial Services Committee. Ehrlich left Washington to return to the private sector where she developed technology to help businesses better understand the legislative process.

This is no slouch, but exactly the type of candidate that can knock off Bill Young, especially in a presidential election year. Not only does she look, sound and act the part, she also has the connections here in Florida and in Washington DC that can actually make Young sweat. In fact, Steny Hoyer is coming down to help Ehrlich out. And with the lack of any legislative accomplishments by Young, I have always wondered what the big deal was about him.

For years, Democrats have always written off the Young seat. We have always said “as soon as Bill Young retires, we can pick up that seat.” Cycle after cycle, we wait for him to retire. And cycle after cycle, he decides he wants to run. Sometimes we get good candidates, like Charlie Justice, to run against Young. And in many cases, the Democrats don’t throw money into that campaign. Now, with Hoyer coming down to help Ehrlich, maybe the DCCC is finally taking this race seriously.

Democrats have had mixed success in Pinellas County. And while the early 1990s saw quality Democrats winning around St. Petersburg, there is a feeling that Democrats could do even better. Yet time after time, we don’t preform as well as we should have. I personally feel the lack of any serious, well qualified, highly funded candidate for Congress is one of the reasons for this failure. If Democrats just take a pass on Bill Young, why should they take the rest of this county seriously. And trust me, as much as I love Orange County and am from Orlando, Pinellas County should be the biggest target for Democrats. Pinellas can make or break elections, and building a strong support base can do that.

Jessica Ehrlich embodies everything that is needed to beat Bill Young. She is experienced, yet has youth. Young is the exact opposite, as he is ineffective and 82-years old. Ehrlich has the looks (which, trust me, matters. Why else do you think we have Pam Bondi). Bill Young’s look, eh, not as much. Ehrlich represents the new look of Florida. Bill Young represents Florida’s past, when many of us didn’t live here.

When looking at this election, I am reminded of the 1972 movie The Candidate. A new, fresh candidate compared to the old Florida ways reminds me of the Bill McKay vs. Crocker Jarmon match up. One quote in that movie really reflects what a Ehrlich vs. Young general might embody is when McKay (played by Robert Redford) is told how he could possibly win the election by an advertisement executive. The executive says:

“You might just make it my friend. People are going to take a look at our guy and see he has guts. They’re going to take a look at The Crock and think he can’t get it up anymore.”

That is exactly the same image of this upcoming election. If Ehrlich wins the primary, she can be the mold of what Democrats need in order to build a stronger party in Florida. She is the complete package. Obviously EMILY’s List and Steny Hoyer is taking her seriously. So should the rest of the Democratic Party in Florida.

14 thoughts on “Does Jessica Ehrlich embody the future of Florida Democrats?”

  1. If she’s so phenomenal maybe she should run in Senate District 21 where the Ds badly need a component candidate. Sorry but we’ve had much more seasoned candidates challenge Young and all have failed.

  2. There is a difference between “seasoned” and “getting votes”. One can be seasoned all they want, but if they don’t have the ability to get votes, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that on Election Day, one person gets more votes than the other. Republicans get this, we don’t.

  3. Actually the DCCC targeted the Young race in 1992 and 2010 and intended to in 2004 as well. It is not the first time we have gone after him. Honestly I agree with Jack. Leaving a Democratic leaning Senate seat to be contested by a weak Democrat or no Democrat at all is unacceptable. But I wouldn’t expect anything less or more from the state party than that.

  4. Personally, looking at her bio, I think it has more to do with her having a DC connection than a Tallahassee one. That is why I think she is going for this seat instead of the Senate.

  5. Pingback: Sunburn for 5/23: A morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics | Saint Petersblog

  6. This HAS to be a joke, right?

    I hope the future of the Democratic Party in Florida doesn’t rest on a carpetbagger with no personal ties to her community who apparently just decided to run for Congress because she could think of nothing better to do. I hope the future of the Democratic Party in Florida doesn’t rest on someone who effectively was a congressional intern for conservative Republican Clay Shaw and “Democrat” Stephen Lynch.

    Maybe the Democratic Party in Florida is in worse shape than I thought.

    Also, since when did Charlie Justice become a “good” candidate?

  7. Worst posting yet on this site.

    Ehrlich a carpetbagger with no local community ties. The DCCC isn’t that bothered about this one . It is not listed as one of their targets. Bembry, Grayson, Fitzgerald, Murphy and Frankel all are.

  8. First, I hear this term “carpetbagger”. Well, this is Florida. How many “natives” are running for office? Using the term “carpetbagger” in Florida is like using “pilot” as a derogatory term in an airport, just doesn’t make sense.

    Second, someone mentioned Bembry. He is about as much of a Democrat as Dick Cheney. Oh wait, Cheney supports equal rights for gays, so Cheney is more of a Democrat.

    Third, this is about winning a district. What community ties did Rick Scott have before becoming governor? None. Once Democrats realize that it is about “winning”, then we might actually win. Do people think that average Floridian out there is looking to see if a candidate has local organization in their communities. On average, no. They care more about figuring out if Tuesday or Wednesday is “Taco Bar” night at their local restaurants. And if someone from the “local organization” knocks on their door and says “vote for so and so”, the voter usually says “thank you” and then goes back, sits on the recliner and asks his or her spouse “Is tonight Taco Bar night?”

    Democrats (and this has always bugged me) make elections to complex. It is pretty straight forward…a popularity contest. Once we have grasped this very simple idea, then we will win elections in “swing districts”. Granted, it might not be a popularity contest in strong Democratic or Republican districts. But in swing district, where people aren’t watching Fox News or MSNBC but instead American Idol, popularity is everything.

  9. Guys don’t you realize she was a longtime DC insider as a congressional staffer. That’s why Hoyer et al. back her but insiders aka staffers tend to make horrible candidates.

  10. We will see. She has raised $100,00 so far. Better than the usual Democratic non-incumbent candidate in Florida.

  11. I tend to agree that ex-staffers make bad candidates. Usually mired in minutia, more concerned about the endorsement of elected officials than voters and often lazy as workers, ie walking and voter contact, more concerned about going to political and party meetings. But Ehrlich is a new candidate who may be different so I would with-hold judgement. This race is not a DCCC target, but could become one if she can raise around 500k before September.

  12. She won’t really be the future of the Dem party in Florida when she loses in the primary. My prediction: Hayden by 2.5 points.

  13. Every time that I watch her on television I am amazed that she has a career. She is a total Bimbo and an idiot.
    She obviously has been promoted by people who are helping her from a position of influence. She is not qualified to watch a dog