Via Tampa Bay Times:

ST. PETERSBURG — Pinellas County’s Democratic chairman left a bluntly worded voicemail telling well-known St. Petersburg pastor Manuel Sykes he would be “persona non grata” if he followed through with plans to run for Congress.

Sykes was the only announced Democratic candidate in Pinellas County’s 13th Congressional District, but he said Wednesday he has now decided not to run after all.

In the voicemail, Mark Hanisee said party officials had spoken to the offices of two key Democrats, former congressional candidate Alex Sink and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman.

“Neither one of them are endorsing you, nor is the (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee). They have another candidate,” Hanisee said. He added, “You better hold off, or, like I told you Sunday night, you are going to be persona non grata. Take that to the bank. That’s telling you the gospel truth. You’re going to be getting a call from Rick Kriseman, if you haven’t already, telling you to back off. Have a nice weekend.”

Sykes said the comments disappointed him, and “the party needs to be purged of these kinds of hindrances to its progress and progressiveness.” He said all candidates should be allowed and encouraged to run.

Angela Owens, an attorney who was working with Sykes’ campaign, said she listened to the recording and found it “appalling.”

“It was shocking to me … because it’s against the rules,” Owens said. “Aren’t they supposed to support Democratic candidates?”

So why didn’t they want Sykes?

According to the Tampa Bay Times:

He [Sykes] said he had had a conversation with Hanisee before getting the voicemail and had also spoken to another Democratic Party official who disliked his chances because he said the district is overwhelmingly white, and he said white voters are less likely to forgive past transgressions than African-American voters are. Sykes was the subject of a 2007 news article about a child he had out of wedlock, a subject that might well have come up during the campaign.

Hannisee claimed it was “because he lives in another district, he’s never run for office before, (and) he has no prior political experience. If you check the demographics, it’s like a 2 percent, 3 percent African-American district.”

Sykes is from St.Petersburg, which is at least partially in the district, #FL13

Translation: Democrats didn’t think a black candidate could win in a mostly white area.

So who are they pushing instead?

A white candidate who was until a few months ago, a Republican, Ed Jany, who does appear to live out of the district. He apparently isn’t even a registered voter in Pinellas County:

Because Jany filed late, although he is a Democrat, he will be listed as “no party affiliation”, thus appearing as something of a stealth candidate in a generally Republican-leaning district.

A spokeswoman for the the National Republican Congressional Committee characterized the situation as a “humongous recruitment fail.”

“After losing all of their top recruits thanks to President Obama’s toxic agenda, they are now stuck with a candidate who couldn’t even run as a Democrat because he didn’t register in time,” NRCC spokeswoman Katie Prill said. “This is truly embarrassing for Washington Democrats.”

Jany is former Special Forces and a colonel in the Marines. But he is also a supporter of Obamacare and left the Republicans after the government shutdown to become a Democrat.

HT: @Taniel