Independent Ed Jany, the candidate heavily touted by national Democrats to take on Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.) this fall, has dropped out of the race less than two weeks after jumping in, citing previous work commitments.
“It is with deep regret that I announce my withdrawal from the race for U.S. Representative in the Thirteenth District,” Jany said in a statement.
He said that he couldn’t afford to support his family while campaigning full time, and ultimately had to choose his job over his campaign.
Jany was dogged over the past few days by a report in the Tampa Bay Times that he exaggerated his educational credentials on his LinkedIn resume.
The report prompted a columnist for a local news outlet to dub him a “dead man walking.”
Jany, a former member of the Army Special Forces who serves as a volunteer police officer with the Tampa Police Department, entered the race just as the candidate filing deadline closed, and his departure from the race leaves Democrats without a challenger for Jolly this fall.
After suffering a bruising special election loss in the district earlier this year, Democrats made Jolly a top target and repeatedly insisted they’d find a strong recruit for the race, even after their last nominee and preferred contender, Alex Sink, opted out.
Having switched from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party in October of last year, Jany was required by Florida law to run as a nonparty-affiliated candidate.
While Democrats had trumpeted Jany’s entry into the race, Republicans saw his run as a recruitment failure and evidence the party had run out of options for November. And National Republican Congressional Committee spokeswoman Katie Prill said Jany's exit made the race "an epic failure" for Democrats, and hung that failure on Obama's unpopularity.
“Words cannot describe what an epic failure this congressional race has become for the DCCC and Florida Democrats. After a devastating loss and wasting millions in the special election, one thing remains very clear: President Obama’s toxic agenda has cost the DCCC another seat that they couldn’t afford to lose," she said.
—This piece was updated at 1:12 p.m. to reflect comment from the NRCC.