Many Republicans have distanced themselves from Donald Trump after crude sexual remarks about women he made surfaced on tape Friday, but stopped short of saying they won’t vote for him in November.
David Jolly is not one of those. His anti-Trump chops can no longer be debated. He is all-in on being all-out on Trump.
Jolly, trailing Democrat Charlie Crist in the race to represent Florida’s 13th Congressional District, flatly stated Trump’s banter in a decade-old tape is the last straw.
“A man who brags about sexual assault isn’t qualified to be president of the United States,” the Tampa Bay Times reported through a spokeswoman Saturday.
Jolly also told the Times/Herald, “I’m not voting for him.”
Jolly’s support for Trump always has been tepid at best. During the primary, his opponent, retired U.S. Marines Gen. Mark Bircher, stated the Republican Party should support him if Jolly refused to endorse Trump.
Jolly easily won the primary.
Last month, though, his support of Trump was still an issue. In an interview with Sunshine State News, Jolly said, “If the election were today, I would not support Donald Trump. I don’t know where I’ll be in November, but I don’t see a pathway to support Donald Trump.”
If there was a pathway then, it no longer exists.
Of course, it should be noted that politically this likely is Jolly’s best and only option. According to a recent Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee poll, he is trailing Crist 50-39 percent. Other polls have the race much closer.
Jolly is banking on his image as someone willing to buck the Republican establishment to win him votes in a new district that seems to favor a Democratic candidate. Most notably, he filed a bill aimed at party bosses who require their members of Congress to spend up to four hours daily on fundraising.
That didn’t make him popular in top GOP circles, and the party responded with crickets when Jolly abandoned a planned run for the U.S. Senate and announced he would try to keep his seat in the U.S. House.
It didn’t help that Beverly Young, widow of Republican icon C.W. Bill Young — the man Jolly succeeded — said she would vote for Crist. On her Facebook page, she said, Bill would be totally disgusted and ashamed of how (Jolly) has handled his district of 50 years.”
There is a lot of disgust going around in politics these days, and it was coming in waves since the Trump revelations. Whether that makes any difference in Jolly’s bid to stay in office remains to be seen. But after tap-dancing up to the edge with Donald Trump, there is no ambiguity now where Jolly stands.