Former Florida chief financial officer Alex Sink (D) will run for the the state's 13th congressional district seat, she announced Wednesday, giving Democrats a capable recruit for a seat the party is bullish on picking up.
"For the sake of our economy, our businesses and our families, we have to restore problem-solving leadership," Sink, the 2010 Democratic gubernatorial nominee, said in a statement.
The Tampa-area 13th district seat was held by Republican Rep. C.W. Bill Young, who died this month at age 82. A special election date to replace him has not been set, but is expected sometime in the first few months of 2014.
President Obama won about 50 percent of the vote in the district last year, an illustration of why Democrats are very optimistic about the pickup opportunity.
Sink joins attorney Jessica Ehrlich in the Democratic field. On the Republican side, political consultant Nick Zoller has jumped in the race. A host of other names are being mentioned as possibilities, including former St. Petersburg mayor Rick Baker and Bill Young Jr., the late congressman's son.
National Republicans slammed Sink while Democrats praised her.
"How can Florida families trust Alex Sink in Washington when she wasted their money at home with no remorse?" asked National Republican Congressional Committee spokeswoman Katie Prill.
"Alex Sink’s results-oriented approach, business background and deep commitment to solving problems would help change the way Washington does business so that we can work together on creating jobs," said Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel of New York.
Updated at 12:41 p.m.