How One Florida Congressional Candidate Got the Shaft From Washington


In the last 24 hours, Democratic House candidate Jessica Ehrlich learned a tough lesson in political expediency: One day you're in, the next day you're out.

This morning, a major Democratic group that earlier indicated they might support her candidacy, officially dropped Ehrlich in favor of a different candidate, former Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink. In May, Emily's List, which supports Democratic women candidates nationwide, announced that the organization was "thrilled to get involved in the early days" of Ehrlich's campaign by putting her "on the list" of standout candidates to watch (though it wasn't an official endorsement). She appeared poised to land Emily's Lists backing, which would mean significant fundraising and grassroots organizing assistance in a highly competitive campaign.

And up until at least Oct. 16, according to the Way Back Machine's archive of the Emily's List site, the group was still raising money for Ehrlich from their supporters.

But Young died on Oct. 18, and the seat became a special election and Alex Sink officially announced Wednesday that she would compete in the March 11 election.

Emily's List promptly endorsed Sink this morning and Ehrlich is off the list-so to speak- and has all but disappeared from the Emily's List website.

"Alex Sink has an outstanding record of public service and business leadership, and she'll be ready to use her experience to fight for Florida in Congress from the day she takes office," said Emily's List President Stephanie Schriock in a statement today.

Emily's List previously endorsed Sink in her successful 2006 campaign for Florida chief financial officer and her failed 2010 bid for governor. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has also endorsed Sink's bid for the seat.

It also helps that in 2010, Sink won Young's district and this year, in a compressed special election timeline, every advantage counts.

The bad news rounds out a month of tough political lessons for Ehrlich.

She was one of three Florida politicians singled out by the late Rep. Bill Young's widow, Beverly Young, who warned not to come near Young's funeral, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

The memorial drew hundreds of prominent attendees from Florida and Washington, D.C., but according to a message sent to another dis-invited Florida pol, former Governor Charlie Crist, Young's widow refused to allow it to become a "platform for political gain."

Ehrlich challenged Young for the seat in 2012 and lost.

Her campaign did not respond to an ABC News request for comment.

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