The special election in Florida-13 will be taking place on Tuesday and it’s looking like we’ve got ourselves a barn burner. In the final days of the race, opponents have been pulling out all the stops in their efforts to defeat GOP candidate David Jolly, including digging up a tragic auto accident from when Jolly was 16 years old. (An accident in which Jolly was cleared of any culpability by police.) But politics is a dirty game, so that’s to be expected.
Even given the rather spirited competition, the latest polls have the race in a dead heat, with Jolly holding a slim two point lead inside the margins over Alex Sink. But the complicating factor in all of this is Libertarian Lucas Overby, a 27 year old commercial diver, who is pulling anywhere from 4 to 7 percent of the vote. That’s not enough to carry the day, but in a race which is this tight he could actually determine the outcome.
If there’s anyone who could find some sympathy for the Big L Libertarian in the race, you might be tempted to think it would be Rand Paul. Given his father’s roots in political ideology and the way Rand is always associated with “the libertarian wing of the GOP” he’s a natural fit, right? Well, if you were thinking that, you would apparently be wrong.
Sen. Rand Paul is helping Florida GOP candidate David Jolly thwart a Libertarian rival polling at four to seven percent, recording a robocall that touts Jolly as someone who wants to “ensure you, not the government, are making decisions for you and your family.”
The call, funded by American Crossroads, a group former Bush aide Karl Rove helped found, will go out to about 20,000 households. The targets of the call are potential supporters of Lucas Overby, a Libertarian candidate who could take votes from GOP candidate Jolly.
“We need to make sure that Lucas Overby does not become a spoiler that gives Nancy Pelosi one more vote in the House. And no one in the center right has more gravitas to help here than Senator Rand Paul,” Steven Law, president and CEO of American Crossroads, said in a written statement to Breitbart News.
I don’t think this is another of those cases of politics making for strange bedfellows, but rather a simple matter of math and reality. Rand Paul doesn’t want to see another seat in the D column when the GOP could hold it, and Overby can’t win. Jolly is the only game in town, and if Paul can chase a few more votes in his direction as a respected voice among that wing of the party, why would he not?
I’m not going to read too much into this race no matter how it goes. After all, there were four special House elections in late 2009 and early 2010 in the run-up to the mid-terms. Democrats won three of the four, leading some to read the tea leaves and predict a lot of momentum for liberals in November. We all know how well that worked out for them. But it certainly wouldn’t hurt to lock this seat up for the remainder of the year, and Paul seems to be trying to do his part to start the season off on a positive note.