David Jolly – Florida Politics

Charlie Crist has $2.1M on hand for CD 13 re-election

Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist announced Thursday that his re-election campaign will report bringing in $447,000 in contributions during the first three months of 2018.

Crist is currently in his first term representing Florida’s 13th Congressional District.

“It’s such an honor to serve the people of Pinellas County. I’m grateful for each and every contribution and volunteer helping us continue our work to expand access to affordable healthcare coverage, ban assault weapons, and protect our environment.”

The full report isn’t viewable via the Federal Elections Website yet, though Crist’s campaign said it will show the about $2.1 million cash on hand as of March 31. Crist had $1.76 million in the bank at the end of 2017. Given his fundraising total, the campaign spent about $100,000 for the quarter.

Crist is so far cruising toward re-election. Eight months out from Election Day, his only challenger is Republican George Buck, who looks like he’s not ready for primetime.

Former Republican U.S. Rep. David Jolly, whom Crist defeated in 2016, announced last month that he wouldn’t run for the seat in 2018.

David Jolly, Patrick Murphy bring bipartisanship roadshow to Jacksonville Tuesday

The speaking tour continues for two former congressmen, with a stop at Jacksonville University Tuesday evening.

Republican David Jolly and Democrat Patrick Murphy will discuss a question they have been mulling since last summer: “Why Gridlock Rules Washington and How We Can Solve the Crisis.”

The event kicks off at 7:00 p.m. at JU’s Davis School of Business.

Jolly, a Republican from Pinellas County, won the special election in early 2014 to succeed the late Bill Young; he was re-elected later that year. He lost his bid for re-election in 2016 to Democrat Charlie Crist after his 13th Congressional District was redrawn up with plenty more Democrats after the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the district had been illegally drawn up by the Florida Legislature.

“I think what Patrick and I are focusing in on is regardless of where you consider yourself on the (political) spectrum, there’s a path forward to working together, and in this environment I don’t think there’s enough people speaking to that,” said Jolly.

Murphy was a two-term Democratic Representative from Jupiter who narrowly defeated Republican Allen West in Florida’s 18th Congressional District in 2012. He was the Democratic Party’s nominee for U.S. Senate last fall but lost to GOP incumbent Marco Rubio.

“One of the biggest things that are frustrating Americans on both sides of aisle, and perhaps resulting somewhat in President Trump’s election, was the lack of progress that people have been seeing,” said Murphy last year.

David Jolly and Patrick Murphy taking their tour national

Jolly & Murphy are taking their “Why Gridlock Rules Washington” show national, with upcoming gigs booked at Harvard University and in Washington, D.C., and Chicago.

The duo, made up of Republican former U.S. Rep. David Jolly of Belleair Bluffs and Democratic former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy of Jupiter, has been touring Florida universities and town halls for a few months now, offering biting looks at how hyper-partisan politics from both of their parties have gotten in the way of governing, and their hopeful views for why and how that should be overcome.

Next Thursday the duo will be appearing at Harvard University in Massachusetts, hosted by the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at the Harvard Institute of Politics.

In April they’ve got appearances set at Tufts University in Massachusetts and Florida House on Capitol Hill in D.C. In May they’ll be at the University of Chicago, in an event moderated by David Axelrod, chief strategist for Barack Obama‘s presidential campaigns.

They’ve also got several more appearances set in Florida in coming weeks, and more national gigs being discussed.

Murphy is the one with the mischievous heart-throb looks and the romantic optimism. Jolly is the one with the rugged bad-boy looks and the rebellious reputation. When it comes to singing hyper-partisan politics blues, or political kumbaya love songs, they harmonize.

“Despite the frustrations with Washington, we believe there are solutions to the gridlock and are excited to pull back the curtain for more people across the country to get involved in our democracy!” Murphy stated in a news release. “We’re grateful for anyone willing to have an open dialogue about fixing D.C. and honored that these schools and groups have opened their doors to us.”

“The response to our town halls has been overwhelming and I think that speaks to the desire by people to see Republicans and Democrats work together, not against each other, to solve our biggest issues,” Jolly added.

Joe Henderson: Timing may never be right again for David Jolly

Because it’s best to never rule out anything in politics, I offer this qualifier: Perhaps the time will come again for David Jolly to make another run for public office.

Having said that, I honestly doubt it.

In a tweet late Tuesday night, Jolly said he won’t try to regain his seat in Congress by challenging U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist in November.

As he noted, “politics is about timing” and given what could be a Democrat tsunami in the November mid-terms, Jolly said he will dedicate his efforts toward being part of a primary challenge in 2020 to Donald Trump.

I like David Jolly and his maverick ways, but the political reality is that he is a man without a party right now. Even as a Congressman from Pinellas County, he angered Republican Party bosses by going rogue on “60 Minutes” with his disgust at how much of his day was spent fund-raising.

After losing his re-election bid in 2016 to Crist, Jolly has made bridge-burning a daily habit – not that he is wrong. He has become a national go-to quote when someone needs a Republican to rip Trump.

He shows up frequently on panels at MSNBC and doesn’t hold back at how he feels Trump is ruining the cause of conservatism and the country.

It makes for compelling theater, and Jolly does make a reasoned argument that the Trump presidency is a disaster and our political system is broken.

But speaking the truth can have consequences, and Jolly would surely face them if he ever tried to run for national office again. Democrats wouldn’t support him over one of their own, and Republicans would shun him like he had typhoid.

Maybe he could run for state office, but he likely still would face those same obstacles. Even if he were elected, he would likely be a pariah in his own party once he reported to work.

He could follow the Crist model and change parties, but that doesn’t seem to be his style. What Jolly seems to want is for the Republican Party to come to its senses and reject the kind of extremism that has been the Trump brand.

Good luck with that.

It likely will take a ballot-box slaughter in November and maybe one in 2020 as well for any sort of reasoned moderation to take hold in the GOP. By that time, Democrats could be back in control while Republicans search for a new identity that doesn’t scare the crap out of voters and our allies.

Where does that leave David Jolly?

For at least the time being, it leaves him right where he is – on the front line of visible opposition to his own party. It leaves him to fight an uphill battle to restore some conservative sanity to the GOP message.

And it leaves him as a politician without an election.

Like I said, we learned in 2016 that anything can happen in politics, so never say never. Right now though, Jolly will have to be content to call it like he sees it from the sidelines. He can only hope someone is paying attention.

Politics is about timing: David Jolly won’t run for elected office in 2018

David Jolly will remain a spectator, albeit an active one, in 2018.

The former U.S. Representative is not looking to return to elective politics this year, referring to a tight Pennsylvania 18th Congressional District special election Tuesday night in a district Donald Trump won by more than 20 points in 2016.

Making the announcement on Twitter, Jolly also suggested Trump should be “primaried in 2020.” He came to the decision with his wife, Laura.

Jolly said: “Politics is about timing. 4 years ago tonight I was elected in a district Obama won twice. Laura & I have considered another run, but watching PA, this is not the year to re-enter politics. Trump should be primaried in 2020. Our focus tonight is on being a part of that primary.”

Since the bitter presidential election, Jolly, an Indian Shores Republican, has been an outspoken critic of Trump.

David Jolly: Assault weapon license should be as hard to get as White House security clearance

David Jolly says he’s not sure that a ban on assault weapons is possible in Washington, but believes a solution that could happen immediately is to make them “functionally obsolete” for the average citizen.

“Make the requirements to get an assault weapon as hard as it is to get a security clearance in this White House,” the former Republican congressman quipped to laughs while addressing the Cafe Con Tampa crowd at the Oxford Exchange Friday morning.

“That would be a yearlong process,” he said, turning serious to say that it would allow authorities to get as much information about a person’s background as possible, including serious training and storage requirements that he thinks would only allow the most trained sportsman or woman to handle.

Like many Republicans, he also says that enforcing current laws on the books to a greater extent would also work, or as he says, “Enforce the gun laws as strictly as Donald Trump wants to enforce the immigration laws.”

Though not a card-carrying NRA member, Jolly did receive $9,600 in contributions from the gun rights organization in his special election against Democrat Alex Sink in 2014 and was the beneficiary of the group spending more than $100,000 against Sink in that same campaign.

He said the current background check process is relatively toothless, consisting of a criminal conviction check and little else. People’s mental health history, including counseling, is currently not part of such a check.

And with all that has been learned about Parkland confessed shooter Nikolas Cruz, Jolly said it should be.

Universal and comprehensive background checks should include every transaction involved with a gun, Jolly said, so if somebody wants to sell it to a family member, it should be done at the local sheriff’s department.

Jolly said he’s now “evolved” to the point where he believes such medical background history needs to be included in such a background check.

Joining the Indian Shores Republican in the discussion was former Treasure Coast Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy, who called guns like the AR-15 “weapons of war” designed to kill human beings, and said they need to go away.

Cruz used an AR-15 to kill 17 people last week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last week.

“If you need 50 rounds to kill a deer, you need a new sport. Bottom line,” he said.

Murphy said in the current climate in Washington (controlled by Republicans in both the House and Senate)  banning assault weapons isn’t a viable possibility, but says it should be the ultimate goal.

Eliminating bump stocks, addressing mental health and reinforcing school safety are “baby steps” that Murphy believes are possible to achieve now.

A joint appearance by two moderate former members of Congress (who collectively only spent six and a half years in Washington) was part of their traveling road show on ways to get Washington working better, a tour they are holding across the state and other parts of the country since the fall.

To their credit, Jolly and Murphy aren’t preaching to the crowd that they need to be as moderate politically as they are, but that it’s essential to find common ground to fix the problems that our political system is supposed to do but has been breaking down over the past few decades into increased partisan rancor.

Jolly attributes the beginning of the fissure was the mid-1990s when Newt Gingrich led the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives. However, he also insists that Democrats were poised to do the same thing if they were in charge (which they were for decades in the U.S. House before 1994).

“Newt Gingrich realized not only did we take control of the House of Representatives, we’re now going to demand that K Street give us all their money that they’ve been giving to Democrats,” he said, “and then we’re going to go around the country and set up these funds to push lobbyists money into the states, so we can take over our state legislatures, and start to redistrict, start to close primaries, and put a chokehold that ensures that Republicans have a structural advantage for the next couple of decades.”

“And that’s what they did.”

After losing a re-election bid after redistricting in Florida’s 13th Congressional District in 2016 to Charlie Crist, Jolly has become omnipresent on CNN and MSNBC as one of the most outspoken Republican critics to President Trump. Although he’s said as recently as a month ago that he was still considering a run for office in 2018, he all but admitted on Friday that’s increasingly unlikely.

“Not only am I candidate without a party, I’m a candidate without a donor base.”

He did add that he is already involved with efforts to help out a Republican primary presidential challenge to Trump in 2020, having recently met with Republicans in both Iowa and Washington D.C.

Murphy said the teenagers who were directly affected by the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School and have been protesting this week about gun violence give him great hope.

“It’s powerful for our country,” he said.

Murphy concluded: “To get involved, to knock on doors, to get out there to vote, or at least get others to vote. That’s a powerful thing. Politicians, by and large, will care more about that than the money, or anything else, if they see that as a sustaining movement, it can’t be one week, two weeks and done.

“This has to continue for months, and unfortunately probably years to be effective, but with the passion that I see, I am optimistic that this can be a generation that does lead to results.”

David Jolly, Patrick Murphy want change to political status quo

Frustration over the American political process has brought together strange bedfellows: two former Florida congressmen of competing parties.

David Jolly, a Republican, and Patrick Murphy, a Democrat, left office in 2017. They’ve since embarked on a tour, titled “Why Gridlock Rules Washington,” to share their less-than-ideal experiences in the nation’s capital.

And the duo doesn’t hold back. According to shared accounts from both Jolly and Murphy, their time in Congress was marred by partisan politics and an inability to get lawmakers to cooperate.

Jolly told listeners at a tour stop Tuesday night at Florida State University that he arrived in Washington with a plan to tackle problems — only to be encountered with a “reality” where bipartisanship, cooperation and compromise were seen as pitfalls for incumbents seeking reelection.

Like Jolly, Murphy said he came to Congress thinking he was going to “change the world.”

He shared a quick anecdote that proved to him otherwise.

Murphy said an early initiative of his to eliminate several special projects in the budget didn’t get the bipartisan support that was promised. The would-be Republican sponsor’s reelection would’ve been negatively targeted by leadership who did not want to see bipartisan success in the chamber, Murphy said.

Murphy said Democratic leadership does the same thing in tit-for-tat fashion.

The talk went on with the lawmakers outlining the problems they believe are directly linked to, even responsible for, gridlock in D.C. Those problems include gerrymandering, closed primaries, an overemphasis on campaign finance and the mainstream media habit of rewarding polarizing politicians with airtime.

Jolly and Murphy outlined potential fixes for the issues, too. Nearly all involved far-reaching changes that would alter the status quo — but the two hinted that their proposed solutions are more practical given the current national political climate.

And they might be right. Jolly said the turnout on the college circuit has been great — especially given the subject material being discussed.

“It’s not like we’re talking about really salacious things,” Jolly said. “We’re talking about gerrymandering and open primaries — this isn’t ‘Fire and Fury.’”

At least one of the solutions discussed by Jolly and Murphy had some steam in the state earlier this year.

The Constitution Revision Commission was considering a proposal that would’ve opened the state’s primaries to all voters. It was later amended to provide for advancing the top two candidates, regardless of their party affiliations, to the general ballot.

However, a committee within the CRC killed the proposal unanimously earlier this month. Currently, voters can only vote for primary candidates within their respective registered parties.

Jolly spoke in depth about opening the state’s primary election system. He said he “journeyed politically” to his stance now.

“I’m willing to say let’s open up primaries to allow candidates to compete for broader constituencies,” Jolly said.

In an interview with Florida Politics, Jolly and Murphy also discussed their time together in Congress. Jolly said he’d work on bills with Murphy, but that collaboration often was stifled by party leadership.

Jolly said the lack of a DACA fix in Washington is a “good example” of how structural issues dominate policy in Congress. He said moderate lawmakers on both sides of the aisle cannot afford compromise on the issue if they intend to be reelected.

“The problem is if the two parties actually compromised on [DACA], at least in years past, they would all be primaried back home,” Jolly said.

Jolly and Murphy also were asked if they intend to run for office in the near future.

Murphy has said he won’t run for his old seat against incumbent Republican Brian Mast this year.

But on Tuesday Murphy added, “I’d be surprised if either one of us didn’t end up on the ballot at some point.” He said their interest in the state of Florida, as evidenced by the tour, could result in one of them running for office to represent the state again.

As for Jolly, who would for his old seat have to square off against incumbent Charlie Crist, “it’s going to go all the way to the filing deadline.”

Ken Hagan’s feud with reporter distracted from big Rays news

Ever since he suffered a perceived slight from WTSP-Channel 10 reporter Noah Pransky during the Go Hillsborough transportation effort, Ken Hagan has given the award-winning reporter the cold shoulder.

The Hillsborough County Commissioner has repeatedly said on camera that he will never respond directly to a question posed by the CBS-affiliated newsman.

Hagan’s news blackout was evident Friday afternoon in Ybor City, during one of the largest gathering of news media in recent times, where the commissioner kicked off a news conference announcing the Tampa Bay Rays desire to build a new stadium in Tampa.

Pransky asked Hagan, considering discussions about the Ybor City site had gone on for a year: “a lot of viewers are telling us their concerns that they haven’t heard a lot about the financing options that have been discussed behind the scenes. What you tell them?”

Hagan refused to answer the question.

Instead, he responded: “Noah, you’re well aware that due to your misleading reporting that I do not speak to you.”

After attempting a follow-up, Pransky was awkwardly told by public relations consultant Gina Morales that the questioning would move on with another reporter.

Once the news conference ended, Pransky and his cameraman tried to ask the same question to Hagan as he exited through the back door of the Tampa Baseball Museum, where the news conference was held.

The reporter was blocked by J.D. White, a former staffer for U.S. Rep. David Jolly who now works for public relations firm, Mercury LLC.

Watch what happened next:

Hagan is running for Hillsborough Commission District 2 seat this fall, where he is the prohibitive favorite.

(Still photo courtesy of Kim DeFalco.)

First underwater veterans memorial coming to Pinellas County waters

Plans for a new veterans memorial near Clearwater were revealed Friday, but potential visitors will need an oxygen tank to get there.

Called “Circle of Heroes,” the memorial aims to be the nation’s first underwater dive memorial and will be situated roughly 10 miles off the Pinellas County shore. The site will be about 40-feet deep and is about a quarter mile from Veterans Reef, a popular dive site.

The memorial will feature 24 life-size concrete statues of servicemen and servicewomen from the United States Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy arranged in a 100-foot circle around a memorial featuring bronze emblems representing each military branch.

Pinellas County has pitched in $12,000 in seed money to grab the first four statues, and the total cost of the project is expected to clock in at $450,000. Former U.S. Rep. David Jolly’s nonprofit group Brighter Future Florida is spearheading the campaign to raise the rest of the money through private and corporate donations.

Jolly said the idea for the memorial came from his uncle, Heyward Mathews.

“Dr. Mathews is no stranger to the recreational diving community and certainly not to the community as whole, when it comes to the marine community,” Jolly said. “But, what you all don’t know is that this idea came from him – in large part because of his commitment to drawing divers from near and far to our area, for tourism reasons and also because of his love of diving. Dr. Mathews has spent countless hours on this project, building statues, researching how to best create this memorial and gaining community support.”

The memorial plan got praise from numerous local officials, including Pinellas County Board Chair Ken Welch, County Commissioner Janet Long, and Visit St. Pete/Clearwater CEO David Downing.

“I can’t imagine a better way to share the beauty of our coastal waters and support our troops than this unique, first of its kind memorial,” Welch said. “Circle of Heroes will be an iconic attraction for the region, highlighting the service and sacrifices of those who have fought to protect the freedoms we all enjoy.”

Long added that the memorial is “a win-win for our service members, veterans, our visitors and the local economy,” while Dowling said it would “not only enhance Florida’s reputation as a premier dive site, but it will undoubtedly grow dive-related tourism to the St. Pete Clearwater area.”

The announcement included a video of the proposed site:

Charlie Crist tops $2 million raised for re-election bid

Freshman Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist brought in about $486,000 during the final  three months of 2017, putting his re-election campaign past the $2 million mark for the year.

Crist’s year-end report isn’t viewable yet on the Federal Elections Commission website, though the Crist campaign said it started 2018 with about $1.76 million in the bank.

Through the end of September, Crist had raised about $1.67 million and had $1.43 million on hand, indicating that his campaign account grew by more than $325,000 after the fourth-quarter report. That puts the St. Petersburg congressman’s spending somewhere in the ballpark of $150,000 for the October through December reporting period.

Crist is the only candidate who has filed a finance report this cycle for Florida’s 13th Congressional District, though Republican George Buck recently announced he would run against the former Florida governor this cycle.

Crist likely isn’t quaking in his boots over the challenge.

There’s also a chance Crist would have to face former U.S. Rep. David Jolly on Election Day, though the odds of that happening took a blow after Jolly said he was expecting a Democratic tsunami at the polls in November.

Jolly did say, however, that “he’s still considering being on the ballot for Congress, and having conversations about some statewide possibilities that we might confront by filing deadline.”

That leaves Crist cruising along as the sole major candidate for the Democratic-leaning district with a campaign account well into the seven figures.

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