CLEARWATER — Non-party candidate Eduardo Jany, whose challenge to Republican U.S. Rep. David Jolly had Democratic Party backing, said today he is dropping out of the race.
In an unexpected move this month, local and national Democrats announced their support of Jany, a Republican-turned-Democrat who could not run as a Democrat because he changed his registration less than a year ago. Jany said it was his employment situation, not recent media scrutiny over his education credentials, that underlies his decision to withdraw.
Jany, a retired Marine and former police officer, works with MutualInk contracting firm where he coordinates security for major events in Brazil, including the upcoming World Cup soccer championships. He said he can’t afford to take off six months of work to campaign.
“I was intending to get time off to be able to do this,” he said. “It’s a great job that pays well, that I certainly can’t afford to lose.”
Jany has not held political office. He joined the District 13 race at the last minute after several Democrats’ announced they would not run for the seat, including Alex Sink, who had lost to Jolly in the March special election, Jessica Ehrlich, and State Rep. Dwight Dudley of St. Peteersburg.
The media scrutiny centered on Jany’s having a degree from a purported “diploma mill” despite having claimed to have completed the bulk of his coursework at the University of Minnesota. He said his transcripts would prove that the latter was the case, and that he did not “buy” his degree. He added that the controversy did not influence his decision to drop out.
“No,” he said. “Absolutely, 100 percent positively not.”
Jany said he and his wife still are shopping for real estate in Pinellas County, mostly likely Sand Key or Tierra Verde, and that he hopes to run for the seat again someday. Jany, as did Sink, lives in Hillsborough County and would have to move to the Pinellas District 13 area to fill the seat.
“I would definitely take another stab at U.S. Congress,” he said.
Libertarian Lucas Overby and no-party candidate Michael Levinson also have filed to run against Jolly.