Now Taking Bets on When Young Will Retire
Bill Young's office isn't even taking the trouble to seriously deny the retirement rumors.
In the Buzz, it says "Young spokesman Harry Glenn checked with his boss Saturday afternoon and said that nothing has changed with the Congressman and that he has not decided if he will run again."
These rumors have been flying around for months. If Glenn has to check with Young before he can confirm that Young is still in it, then Young isn't really in it. If Young were committed to running, his staff would know and his communications director would already have a ready answer (a well run press operation has the answers to these basic questions). Also, a spokesperson typically only speaks on the record if the elected official will find it awkward to have the quote attributed to him or her (when I've spoken on the record, it typically meant things have gone horribly wrong and that my candidate is hiding in a bunker with Cheney).
In short, game over. The question now is whether Mrs. Beverly Young (his wife) jumps in and, if not, who takes up the GOP mantle and whether Rep. Rick Kriseman or Sen. Charlie Justice jumps in on the Democratic side.
My suspicion is that the wait is less because Young hasn't decided, but more because of pressure from the National Republican Congressional Committee and its chairman, Rep. Tom Cole. Because this seat will be difficult to hold without Young on the ballot, they will want to be ready to rally around a single candidate before the official announcement is leaked.
Leading GOP contenders will be his wife, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker, and Pinellas County Commissioner Karen Seel.
On the Democratic side, Kriseman and Justice, as noted above, but also former state representative Lars Hafner, former state House Speaker Peter Rudy Wallace, and Bayfront Medical Center CEO Sue Brody.