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Democrat Eric Lynn challenge to David Jolly likely for 2016

Eric Lynn, a senior Obama administration adviser in the Defense Department, is strongly considering to run for the Democratic nomination for Congress against GOP incumbent in District 13 David Jolly next year. He may announce his candidacy soon. Lynn has roots in Pinellas, having graduated from St. Pete High School in 1996, and his family lives in the area.

“Eric Lynn is being heavily recruited by local, statewide and national Democrats,” said Pinellas County Democratic Party consultant Nick Janovsky, who worked on Alex Sink‘s 2014 congressional campaign (Update: A spokesman for Lynn tells Florida Politics that while Lynn is considering a run, he absolutely has not made a decision on whether or not to do so just yet).

“I believe he is most in line with Pinellas voters, and if there’s a strong calling for him, he has to consider this heavily,” Janovsky said.

“Pinellas Democrats and Independents are excited by the possibility of a candidate that understands their concerns,” Pinellas County Democratic Executive Committee Chair Susan McGrath said. “Eric has vast military intelligence having worked at the Pentagon. We would be excited by the potential should he and his family decide he run.”

There was a similar calling for Lynn a little less than a year ago by Democrats, as they ended up going into panic mode after Alex Sink opted not to run for the second time in eight months against Jolly in CD13.

Lynn considered entering the race at the time, but then announced this past May that after much consideration, he would remain in Washington at the Department of Defense.

He was one of a number of Democrats who chose not to challenge Jolly in the fall, in what ended up as a colossal embarrassment for Democrats in Pinellas County and Washington, D.C.

After Lynn and other Democrats declined the chance to compete, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee selected little-known Ed Jany to be their nominee. However, he dropped out shortly after entering the contest, leaving the Democrats with no candidate to oppose Jolly in one of the most competitive congressional districts in the nation.

Not every Democrat in Pinellas thinks a Lynn candidacy is a home-run.

Political consultant Gregory Wilson calls Lynn “an intelligent man,” but said Jolly will be tough to beat: “He’s running against somebody who is proving to be everywhere and voting pretty well from a Democratic standpoint, and will have unlimited resources to defend his position.”

National Democrats, th0ugh, look ready for another battle.

“Since arriving in Washington, Congressman Jolly has proven he’s more than willing to contribute to the Republican dysfunction,” said Matt Thornton, head of communications with the DCCC. “Given Congressman Jolly’s history of trying to deceive Florida voters about his background as a lobbyist — as well as his willingness to risk Social Security in the stock market — it’s no surprise Democrats are already lining up to challenge him.”

Sarah Bascom, campaign spokeswoman for Jolly, offered this on Lynn’s prospective bid: “Running for office is a difficult decision and the Congressman wishes Eric and his family the very best.”

After leaving St. Pete High in 1996, Lynn went on to Northwestern University, where he acquired a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations. He got his law degree at Georgetown University Law Center.

He was a staff member for South Florida Democratic U.S. Rep. Peter Deutch. He worked as a staff member on Jewish affairs for the Obama campaign in 2008, and has worked in the Department of Defense since 2009.

Written By

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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