Sunday, June 19, 2016

Jolly Probably Can't Be Reelected In His Florida House Seat-- ANd The NRCC Hopes He Loses


As we mentioned yesterday, you'd have to be terribly naive to imagine Rubio wasn't running for reelection. David Jolly's exit from Florida's U.S. Senate primary is just another indication that it's a done deal. The NRCC doesn't like Jolly-- who exposed their predatory fundraising tactics on 60 Minutes-- but he really is the only shot the GOP has told hold that recently much bluer swing district against Republican-Democrat hybrid Charlie Crist. Jolly claims he can win the seat again by focusing on local issues.
Jolly likely won't have the same help from national Republicans in trying to defeat Crist as he did in 2014 when he beat Democrat Alex Sink in a special election to win the seat. The National Republican Congressional Committee made clear on Friday that it played no role in getting Jolly to run for re-election.

"The NRCC was not included in his 'deliberations' and has not had any discussions with David about him running for re-election. We do not-- and will not-- comment about commitments for financial support or anything else," said Katie Martin, a spokeswoman for the NRCC.

Jolly has irritated the NRCC by touting his Stop Act, which would bar candidates from personally seeking campaign donations. He was featured in an April story on 60 Minutes on CBS, which used footage from hidden cameras to show the tiny call offices congressmen use to solicit donations in between meetings.

Asked how close he anticipated working with the group that he called out on national TV, Jolly said the ball was in the NRCC's court.

"I will let the NRCC make a decision as it chooses to," Jolly said. "My mission with the Stop Act … was never intended to take on the party. I intended to take on the amount of time it takes members of Congress to raise money for their own election."

Pinellas County Republicans have been pushing Jolly for months to run for re-election in the 13th Congressional District, seeing him as their best shot to beat Crist in November.

But that could be a tall order, according to the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report, a Washington, D.C.-based newsletter that analyzes congressional races. Nathan Gonzales said even with Jolly in the race, he still has the 13th District as a "safe Democratic" district. Gonzales said Jolly will be challenged running without NRCC support in a district that under its new configuration President Barack Obama carried by 10 percentage points in 2012.

Though Jolly is out of the Senate race, it doesn't mean Rubio has a clear path yet, should he re-enter the contest.

Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis have said they do not intend to run against Rubio. But real estate developer Carlos Beruff and Orlando businessman Todd Wilcox have already filed papers to run and have said they are prepared to take on Rubio.

The winner of the Republican primary will likely face either U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, or U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, who are battling in the Aug. 30 Democratic primary.
Even though many Florida Democrats have not embraced Crist, it will be hard for Jolly to run in what's now a very blue seat, especially in a presidential year. His voting record can be used to pummel him out of contention. For example, on Thursday, when anti-immigration extremists Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and Steve King (R-IA) offered amendments to a defense spending bill that would keep undocumented immigrants out of the military, both were defeated by all the House Democrats plus 30 (Gosar's amendment) and 33 (King's amendment) House Republicans. Republicans who try billing themselves as "moderate" or "mainstream" voted against the amendments. Jolly voted for both of them, not an issue likely to play well for him in Pinellas County-- and not one Crist is likely to go by unnoticed.

Jolly has a 13.33 ProgressivePunch lifetime crucial vote score, pretty abysmal even for a Republican-- and not a score that can be easily passed off as "moderate." He's been wrong-- at least for his district-- on nearly every important issue that's come before Congress since he was first elected. Even teabaggers like Ted Yoho (R-FL) and Raúl Labrador (R-ID) have less extremist vote scores-- and he's certainly not in the same category as fellow Florida Republican Carlos Curbelo (21.90) who's been consciously working to pass himself off as a mainstream type.

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