While he’s not sure if he will attempt to resume his political career by running against Charlie Crist in Florida’s 13th Congressional District, former Republican congressman David Jolly says he will be part of another campaign in the future – a GOP effort to block Donald Trump from being renominated in 2020 as the party’s presidential nominee. Read more
Former Florida Congressmen David Jolly and Patrick Murphy will tour college campuses this fall, where the onetime U.S. Senate rivals will try to explain why politics in Washington is so screwed up.
“Why Gridlock Rules Washington and How We Can Solve the Crises” will feature a town-hall style format moderated by members of the media and academics, with a question-and-answer session to follow.
The first stop is Sept. 12 at the University of South Florida in Tampa. The 75-minute event will be sponsored by USF and the Tampa Bay Times.
Other stops include Oct. 4 at Florida International University, Oct. 18 at the University of Miami and the University of Florida in Gainesville Oct. 25, with more events likely to be added.
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 last fall 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, who describes himself as a “governing conservative,” willing to approach issues where few Republicans seek a compromise.
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,” says Murphy, who said both he and Jolly agreed upon their election that there was common ground to be found on issues such as climate change, tax reform and the need for infrastructure spending.
During their short time serving together in Congress, the two men found ways to work together on those issues and more. There was the possibility that the two could have faced each other in the Senate race last year, but Jolly ultimately dropped out of the race once Rubio flip-flopped and decided he would run again for his Senate seat after his presidential ambitions collapsed.
Murphy says of all the problems with a dysfunctional Congress, gerrymandering is at the top. Jolly agrees but believes that districts should be redrawn in terms of electoral competitiveness, so that working across the aisle will be positive, instead of giving ammunition to political party officials to have that candidate “primaried” come election time.
Murphy recently agreed to serve as one of six fellows at Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service this fall.
Jolly, meanwhile, has been ubiquitous on CNN and MSNBC this year offering unfettered criticism mostly at Trump. He says that while the tour isn’t about Trump at all, it clearly is designed to provide an alternative to politics in the Trump era.
You can find more information about the tour at fixwashington2017.com.
Vern Buchanan is seizing on heavy media coverage of a New York City police officer’s execution Wednesday, calling for the U.S. Senate to pass legislation making the murder or attempted murder of a police officer an “aggravating” factor in death penalty determinations.
New York City Police Officer Miosotis Familia was sitting in the back of a marked van writing in her memo book when she was shot and killed with no warning by a gunman at around 12:30 a.m. on Wednesday. The gunman, Alexander Bonds, was subsequently shot and killed by NYC police officers. It’s been reported that he wrote anti-police posts on Facebook and claimed officers kill inmates at the jails he was in.
The “Thin Blue Line Act,” sponsored by the Sarasota Republican congressman, passed the House in May. The proposal makes the murder or attempted murder of a law enforcement officer an “aggravating” factor in death penalty cases.
“It’s time to protect those who put their lives on the line for us every day,” Buchanan said in a statement Thursday. “We need to send a strong message that the heinous targeting of police officers or first responders will not be tolerated.”
So far in 2017, there have been 67 line-of-duty deaths, an 18 percent spike from the same point in 2016, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
Most law enforcement agencies around the country support the bill. It is applicable in cases where the person is murdered on duty, because of the performance of their duty, or because of their status as a public official. covers federal, state and local police officers, firefighters and first responders. The only requirement is that the homicide involves federal jurisdiction, such as the interstate homicide of an officer, or an officer killed on federal land, or while serving as part of a joint task force.
The bill would cover federal, state and local police officers, firefighters and first responders. The only requirement is that the homicide involves federal jurisdiction, such as the interstate homicide of an officer, or an officer killed on federal land, or while serving as part of a joint task force.
Former Pinellas County GOP Congressman David Jolly sponsored the original bill, introduced in 2015 and again in 2016.
Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey sponsored the Senate version.
David Jolly offers some advice for his former GOP colleagues when called upon to comment on President Donald Trump‘s more egregious tweets: Just ignore him.
“No more trips to the White House. No more flights on Air Force One. No more accepting his gratuitous offers of signing ceremonies, White House cocktails, or meetings with his children. No more asking the White House for permission, for policy advice, or for the President’s priorities,” the former Pinellas County congressman writes in an op-ed on CNN’s website.
“Honor your oath as a fiduciary of Article I, who holds the public trust. Strike out with your own bold agenda that wins the hearts and minds of the American people. And leave this President behind. Leave him to his Twitter account and to placating his base with disgusting tweets.”
New polling suggests that it’s not just media elite and/or Democrats who have grown weary of some of Trump’s outlandish Twitter comments, such as his broadside against MSNBC “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski, who he said last week was “bleeding badly from a face-lift” when he saw her a few months ago.
According to a poll conducted by Morning Consult in partnership with POLITICO published Wednesday, 65 percent of those surveyed said it was “unacceptable” for Trump to attack Brzezinski as he did.
Even among Republicans, more people called it unacceptable (46 percent) than acceptable (28 percent) for the president to say such things. Both men and women agreed the tweets were unacceptable, though more men (22 percent) than women (12 percent) found the comments acceptable.
As a prolific commentator on CNN and MSNBC since Trump’s inauguration in January, Jolly has been mostly critical of the president’s policies and performance in office. While that makes him an outlier among Republicans currently in office, he’s hardly the only conservative on cable airwaves taking issue with Trump, joining Ana Navarro, Jennifer Rubin, George Will and others on the right to criticize the president.
“You see, when members of Congress condemn a tweet and then fall in line with the President’s awkward leadership of domestic and foreign policy — such as when they race to be his guest at a South Lawn ceremony celebrating passage of a flawed health care bill that even the President himself now disowns — all their condemnation, and congressional resolve itself, is exposed as meritless,” Jolly writes.
Trump’s tweet against Brzezinski was certainly one of the most flagrant comments since using Twitter as president, earning a flood criticism from Democrats and even some Republicans in the immediate aftermath last week.
“President is a poor role model for America’s children, all of us,” Tampa Congresswoman Kathy Castor tweeted last week. “His tweets, actions are far beneath the dignity required of the office.”
One Democrat deciding not to comment on the latest social media messages from the president: Florida Sen. Bill Nelson.
Speaking with reporters in Tampa earlier this week, Nelson was asked (by this reporter) if he was bothered by Trump’s tweets on Brzezinski, as well as another featuring a mock video showing him body-slamming WWE promoter Vince McMahon, whose face was covered by a CNN logo.
“The essence of your question is — you’d like me to jump all over the president, and I’ll tell you what my answer is — I can’t do anything about how he conducts himself, but I can do something about how I conduct myself,” Nelson responded. “And it is my responsibility to conduct myself as a gentleman, to respect others, to try to be bipartisan, to try to bring people together and build bipartisan consensus.”
“That is my responsibility and my obligation, and I tried to do that, and I will continue to try to do that,” he concluded.
Losing an election can be liberating. At least it seems to be that way for David Jolly.
The former Republican congressman from St. Petersburg always had an independent streak, but he has gone full-blown solo since losing his seat last November to Charlie Crist in CD 13. He takes every opportunity on Twitter to bash President Donald Trump, including a jab about the suspension of live on-camera press briefings in a recent missive.
But that was small potatoes compared to what the jab he took on Lawrence O’Donnell’s program on MSNBC. He committed Republican heresy by actually praising the Affordable Care Act (see Care, Obama).
Jolly said that after losing the election, he was unemployed with a pre-existing condition. Having the Obamacare safety net was a great relief.
So, here’s what I’m guessing: While Jolly told O’Donnell he is considering a rematch against Crist in 2018, he likely is finished in big-time politics — at least as a Republican.
The national organization already considered him a rouge thorn for his disinterest in raising money; coming out in favor of Obamacare is the GOP equivalent of having serpents spew from his mouth.
Jolly is a pretty smart guy and I’m sure he has a good feel for how he stands in the eyes of party leaders. They likely would greet his potential candidacy with the same enthusiasm one has for an IRS audit. CD 13 is a primarily Democratic district anyway, so even if Jolly got the Republican nomination, party bosses would be unwilling to channel money his way.
Republicans could have a tough time holding onto their House majority and probably would be willing to invest in races with a greater likelihood of success.
Here’s the thing, though. While Jolly is playing with a nothing-to-lose swagger that infuriates GOP leaders, they really ought to pay attention to what he is saying.
They have already gotten an earful from constituents about health care, and the seeming rush by the Senate to approve a bill that could leave 22 million Americans without insurance reinforces the GOP’s image as a party that doesn’t give a hoot about the needs of ordinary people.
When a person like Jolly says that he faced potential calamity after losing his government health care, the message to everyone is that clear: The big shots take care of themselves and their buddies, and screw over everyone else.
In losing his seat, Jolly seems to have found his voice, and he isn’t afraid to use it. His Republican friends better listen.
When David Jolly defeated Alex Sink in the special election for Florida’s 13th Congressional District, his criticism of Obamacare was front and center of his campaign.
But the politics of health care have changed over the past four years, Jolly told MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell on Monday night – and they certainly have for him. After losing to Democrat Charlie Crist in a redrawn CD 13 last fall, Jolly says his own personal circumstances had changed when he left office at the beginning of this year, and he was grateful that the Affordable Care Act was available to him and his wife as a “safety net.”
“On January 4th, I was a former member of Congress, unemployed with no health insurance and a pre-existing condition,” Jolly said on “The Last Word”.
“And while I ultimately chose a private sector plan, I also knew that in 2017 that Obamacare provided an exchange that was a safety net that wasn’t there before, and to be honest with you, if I had to rely on it, I knew it was there, and that’s why the politics of Obamacare in 2017 are different are different in 2013,” Jolly said. “I lost my doctor and I lost my plan in 2013 and I was angry about Obamacare and I ran for Congress, but in 2017, as an unemployed person with a pre-existing condition, I knew that Obamacare was there as a safety net if my wife and I needed it.”
The former Pinellas Congressman is hardly the only American to take a more positive look at Obamacare as the Republican Congress gets closer to repealing it.
Last week, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 51 percent of U.S. adults in support of the ACA, while 41 percent hold an unfavorable view. This is the first month that favorability has tipped over the 50 percent mark since Kaiser Family Foundation began tracking attitudes on the law in 2010.
Jolly says he is still considering a rematch against Crist in 2018, and will make his decision early next year.
You can watch the exchange below with Jolly, O’Donnell, and Vox.com editor Ezra Klein beginning at the 5:00 minute mark.
Max Goodman, the well-regarded communications pro who worked for U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan for nearly a decade before helping David Jolly’s campaign(s) in 2015 and 2016, is returning to work for Buchanan as Chief Communications Advisor.
Goodman will be based out of Washington D.C.
Goodman joined Jolly’s campaign for the U.S. Senate in the fall of 2015 as his political director and was later named his campaign manager. But after Marco Rubio opted to run again for the U.S. Senate seat he had given up in 2015 to run for president, Jolly and the other Republicans who had been competing for the then-open seat dropped out (with the exception of Carlos Beruff, who got smoked by Rubio in the GOP primary).
After Buchanan narrowly defeated Democrat Christine Jennings in 2006, Goodman began working for Buchanan, ultimately becoming his full-time communications director in 2010, and was later promoted to senior aide in 2012.
Max is the younger brother of Adam Goodman, the famed political ad-maker who is currently working on Rick Baker’s mayoral campaign in St. Petersburg.
Unless you’ve been boycotting cable news, former Pinellas County GOP Congressman David Jolly has been a ubiquitous presence, thanks to his unflinching takedowns on Donald Trump, the titular head of the Republican Party.
“Donald Trump is done,” Jolly opined on “11th Hour with Brian Williams” last month after the Justice Department named Robert Mueller as the special counsel to oversee the investigation into ties between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials.
While that independence from GOP orthodoxy makes the former lawmaker a desired quantity on MSNBC and CNN, the feelings among some rock-ribbed Republicans toward him aren’t nearly so warm and fuzzy.
That independence has led some observers to believe that Jolly is done for the time being for politics, but the former aide to longtime Congressman Bill Young said this week that the idea of running again in Florida’s 13th Congressional District is something that is “actively under consideration.”
Any decision won’t come until next January, however, when he says he’ll have a better idea on when can take the temperature of the “macro political environment.”
“But I’m also not convinced that Charlie (Crist) runs for re-election,” he says. “I think there’s a lot that can change between now and ’18 and so it’s still something under active consideration.”
Kevin Cate, a spokesperson for the Crist campaign, declined to comment.
Susan McGrath, the chair of the Pinellas County Democratic Executive Committee, often takes to her Facebook page to disparage Jolly after he appears on the cable networks criticizing the president.
“David Jolly is the consummate example of a politician that wants to portray himself as something he’s not in order to fool the voters of CD 13 so that he can try to win back his old seat,” she told FloridaPolitics.com in an email.
McGrath continued: “He had no issues with the Republican Party when he ran in a district that had a Republican advantage. He may try to run from the Republican Party and Donald Trump, but the fact is he lobbied for the privatization of Social Security, lobbied in support of offshore drilling, dismissed his vote to deny additional VA funding as ‘a procedural vote’ and for ‘bricks and mortar’ and sponsored legislation to defund Planned Parenthood and on and on. To present himself as moderate is simply not honest. His record speaks for itself.”
Jolly counters by pointing out he was for same-sex marriage and radical campaign finance reform well before CD 13 was reconfigured from a swing seat to a what is now a very Democratic-leaning district.
While the Pinellas Democratic chair is commenting on Jolly, her GOP counterpart is not.
Republican Executive Committee Chair Nick DiCeglie initially told FloridaPolitics.com he would answer the question of what Pinellas Republicans think of Jolly, but ultimately chose not to respond to further inquiries on the matter.
Another prominent Republican official in Pinellas would also not comment publicly on Jolly, but when promised anonymity, said he didn’t see a path for Jolly in the district.
“If your intention is to rally around the base, that’s not the way to do it,” the official said. “He must be trying to rally the independents, but I don’t know if there’s enough runway there for him to take off.”
“I appreciate his honesty and candor if he wants to have a career as a pundit or something,” he added. “But as far as trying to get people to rally behind you, that’s certainly not the way to go.”
Adding to the issue is while some Republicans feel personally ambivalent about Trump, they will still rally around the president when attacked by Democrats and (they say) the liberal media.
“In my observations, he alienated Trump Supporters and Second Amendment supporters before his failed election,” says Dan Tucker, a Pinellas County Republican State Committeeman.
“However, I like David as a person but what I understand from Republican Club members who are typically an older ‘die-hard conservative’ crowd, is that they feel he has lost it while some are openly hostile toward him and feel betrayed,” Tucker says. “I consider him a ‘Never Trumper’ and vying for Joe Scarborough’s job as a Progressive Republican.”
For George Hudak, a GOP political consultant from Palm Harbor who often works with Republicans in New York, the bigger question is will Democrats support a moderate Republican like Jolly over Crist.
“I think David is a truth speaker, he stands up for what he feels is right,” he says, referring to his fight against the National Republican Campaign Committee which resulted in that group opting not to help fund him in such a competitive election in 2016. “David has a lot of integrity; he and Laura are still loved by many Pinellas Republicans.”
Anthony Pedicini believes it doesn’t really matter who is the GOP candidate in CD 13.
“I do not think a Republican can beat Charlie Crist in the district as it is currently configured,” says the GOP political consultant.
Jolly lost to Crist in 2016 by 3.4 percentage points. That was without any financial help from the National Republican Campaign Committee, who essentially wrote him off after a dispute regarding the commitments made.
Paraphrasing John Kasich, Jolly says he also gets the right to define Republicanism in the 21st-century: “In many ways, I’m fighting for the future of the GOP and fighting for our brand, if you will.”
“The clearest strategy for 2018, if my only interest was running for re-election, would be to keep my mouth shut,” Jolly says. “I mean every consultant on the left and right would tell you — keep your mouth shut, raise money, keep your head down, and then we’ll figure out how to deploy campaign resources three months out — so that is the strategy.”
“If I was just worried about strategy, but I’m not. I’m calling balls and strike, and see what the field looks like next year, but there’s a good chance I’ll be on the ballot, and I will not have the full support of Republicans, nor will I bring over progressive Democrats who disagree with me on policy, but I do think we can put together a majority of Republicans, independents and Democrats and hopefully do what I was trying to do last cycle, which was to truly change politics. “
With all that, Jolly still says he is a “long way” from making a decision.
David Jolly fully intends to appear on “Real Time with Bill Maher” Friday night, as do previously scheduled guests Ice Cube and Symone Sanders, the former national press secretary for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
This despite the controversy circling around the comedian, who used the N-word during his show last Friday night, prompting widespread condemnation and calls for HBO to oust him from the gig.
As it stands now, the only previously scheduled guest on the comic’s weekly program who won’t appear is U.S. Sen. Al Franken; Jolly says the Minnesota Democrat is making a mistake blowing off the program.
“Frankly, if Franken had such convictions, then the opportunity was for him to go on the show and to speak to it, not run away and hide from it,” says the former Republican congressman, whose unabashed criticism of President Donald Trump has made him a favorite this year for CNN and MSNBC bookers.
Scheduled to replace Franken is academic and author Michael Eric Dyson. In a statement issued over the weekend, Dyson, who is black, came to Maher’s defense after the comedian used what is perhaps the most toxic word in the English language.
“[Maher] has bravely, and relentlessly, pilloried racism, white privilege, and white indifference to the black plight,” Dyson wrote on Twitter. “In short, he has used his platform to highlight black faces, and amplify black voices, that might otherwise have never been given such a prominent perch to tell their truths.”
The cable network also announced it removed the offensive phrase from “any subsequent airings of the show.”
In the wake of the controversy, some analysts think D.C. lawmakers — who have enjoyed getting a dose of Hollywood cool by appearing on the show — may now think twice about accepting an offer to appear. This year alone, ‘Real Time’ featured politicos like Elizabeth Warren, Darrell Issa and (now most notoriously) Nebraska Sen Ben Sasse, who took some incoming fire for failing to call Maher out for using a racial epithet in replying to Sasse’s invitation to come to Nebraska.
The Hollywood Reporter quoted one public relations professional Tuesday saying that while “commentators will still be interested in the platform, (but) elected officials will be less interested. They have more at stake — they’re associated with the language used on the program.”
Jolly dismisses the idea that if he were still in Congress he’d bow out, a la Franken.
“I’m open to just as much criticism now, just because I speak publicly to hard issues,” he says. “The safest place for a politician to be is silent, and to hide from controversy. That’s not just Franken, that’s the DNA of most politicians.”
Having said that, Jolly admits to having some “trepidation” about doing the show in a way that he didn’t a week ago.
“I did some soul-searching in the days following Friday night,” he adds, “but it wouldn’t be true to my character to shy away from controversy or hard issues.”
Jolly says he has “no idea” what might transpire differently Friday night than the usual formula for the hourlong live program.
“Nobody condones what he said. Certainly I don’t. I’m as curious as the rest of the country in seeing how he handles Friday night. I don’t have any advance knowledge.”
A number of black commentators have said Maher’s comment was offensive, but they don’t think he should be fired. Despite that, there have been many calls for HBO to can him, including one from NPR’s Eric Deggans.
As Deggans wrote earlier this week: “It’s evidence of a pattern — one that HBO now needs to decide whether it wants to continue to be associated with, especially for a channel where 22 percent of its viewership comes from black people.”
Sarasota Republican Vern Buchanan‘s legislation to toughen penalties against cop killers has passed the House.
The “Thin Blue Line Act” would make the murder or attempted murder of a police officer, firefighter or other first responders an “aggravating” factor in death penalty determinations.
The bill, approved by the House in a 271-143 vote, now goes to the Senate for a vote.
“America’s police officers and first responders are the first ones on-scene to help those in harm’s way,” Buchanan said. “These brave men and women and their families put it all on the line and deserve our unwavering support. Getting this bill signed into law will protect those who serve our communities and send a clear message: targeting or killing our first responders will not be tolerated.”
The bill was introduced in the last session of Congress by then-Rep. David Jolly of Pinellas County, who lost his bid for re-election last November.
There have been 50 line-of-duty deaths so far this year, a 39 percent spike from this time in 2016, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
That increase comes on top of last year’s jump in ambush-style killings of law enforcement officers, which spiked 167 percent compared to 2015, according to the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO).
More than a dozen state and national first responder organizations back Buchanan’s bill, including NAPO, National Fraternal Order of Police, Major Counties Sheriffs of America, American Federation of Government Employees and others.
The Thin Blue Line Act would be applicable whether the person is murdered on duty, because of the performance of their duty, or because of their status as a public official. It covers federal, state and local police officers, firefighters and first responders.
The only requirement is that the homicide involves federal jurisdiction, such as the interstate homicide of an officer, or an officer killed on federal land, or while serving as part of a joint task force.