Jessica Ehrlich walks out of forum as Bill Young no-shows; son Billy subs in but ‘feels like Clint Eastwood’


My colleagues at Patch have a series of interesting, if not awkward, videos from last night’s Meet the Candidates Forum sponsored by The Gulfport Democratic Club and St. Petersburg Republican Club.

After it was clear that U.S. Rep. Bill Young was a no-show for the event, Jessica Ehrlich, Young’s Democratic opponent for District 13, walked off the stage at the Gulfport Casino Ballroom after giving her two-minute introduction.

That left Young’s son, Billy, in his place as the rules for the forum permitted a campaign to send a representative in the candidate’s place if unable to make the event.

Billy Young stated his father could not attend the forum due to scheduled events in Washington D.C., including a briefing with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Young provided printed flyers of the representatives’s schedule to audience members.

“I feel like Clint Eastwood up here,” said Young, who was surrounded by empty chairs on the dias.

Asked why she walked out of the forum, Ehrlich said, “I don’t believe you should be elected to office at any level if you aren’t willing to engage or … to answer for the votes you have taken.”