Charlie Crist, Rick Kriseman and Pinellas Democrats gained a new ally on Wednesday in their request for an additional early voting station in the southern part of the county — Republican Congressman David Jolly.
In a letter penned to Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark, the GOP incumbent in Congressional District 13 says he is writing to ask that “your office ensure that all communities throughout Pinellas County have equal access to early voting locations.”
Clark had steadfastly denied requests in recent weeks by Pinellas Democrats to add an early voting polling station in South St. Petersburg. As it stands now, there will be only five early voting locations set up when early voting begins later this month, much fewer than most other nearby counties of similar size. Hillsborough County, for example, will have 16 such sites.
For years, Clark has pushed for more and more voters to vote by mail, and more and more people are doing so in Pinellas County. However, there certainly are some voters who will only vote at the polls.
“Too often we hear of instances around the country where vulnerable communities encounter obstacles to the free and fair exercise of their lawful right to participate in elections,” Jolly writes to Clark, a fellow Republican. “As a foundational premise, we must strive to make voting as accessible as possible for all who wish to partake in our free elections. I believe this should include expanded early voting, expanded vote-by-mail, and expanded polling locations — insisting in each instance on simple, yet legitimate, identification requirements to protect the integrity of every vote.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Crist held a news conference with Pastor Manuel Sykes and Pinellas County Democratic Black Caucus president Corey Givens at the Lake Vista Recreation Center on 62nd Avenue South, where they once again called on Clark to provide at least one additional early voting site in the Southside.
Jolly and Crist are competing in the CD 13 race in what is expected to be an extremely close contest. The two will debate Thursday at the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club.
Todd Wilcox, the former combat veteran and CIA case officer who ran for nearly a year as a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, announced Wednesday he is forming a Super PAC called “Restoring American Leadership.”
Wilcox will serve as chairman of this new committee.
“We are at a crossroads in this country where we must decide whether we continue on the destructive path we have been on for eight years, or do we renew our commitment to American leadership,” said Wilcox. “I am fighting to do everything in my power to ensure we elect only those who will fight for the conservative principals of limited government, free market capitalism, strong national defense, and the liberty ensured by an originalist interpretation of our Constitution.”
Wilcox announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat held by Marco Rubio on the 4th of July in 2015. He declared at that time he was “fed up with the status quo and I’m fed up with career politicians who care more about re-election or the next higher office than they do about their neighbors. That’s why I am declaring my candidacy for the U.S. Senate.”
For months he was the only non-politician in the GOP field, which also included Congressmen David Jolly and Ron DeSantis, and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera. Earlier this year, Manatee developer Carlos Beruff joined the party.
But the race changed dramatically when Rubio’s chances for president faded and he decided in June to re-enter the contest. Although resistant at first to dropping out, Wilcox ultimately did exactly that, leaving Beruff to get manhandled by Rubio in the August primary.
As FloridaPolitics.com reported last month, Wilcox, a millionaire, has been giving out campaign contributions to federal candidates running in the Sunshine State since dropping out of the Senate race. And as POLITICO’s Marc Caputo reportedWednesday, Wilcox is getting behind Brian Mast, a combat veteran running in Florida’s 18th Congressional District against Democrat Randy Perkins.
Wilcox alluded to a spat the two candidates had at a meeting in front of the TC Palm editorial board recently when he wrote in an ad published in the Post on Wednesday that, “As a Green Beret in the United States Army, I had the tremendous honor of standing shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the bravest, hardest working Americans to ever step on a battlefield. Like most who saw your recent meltdown, I watched in total disgust as you questioned ‘why the sacrifices and the services’ Brian Mast provided for this country make him ‘capable of solving issues’ affecting seniors, children, single mothers, veterans, and families.”
Before last night’s vice-presidential debate from Farmville, Virginia, the conventional wisdom amongst the pundit class was that Donald Trump would “sink” Mike Pence, as he’d have to contend with all of the many, many provocative comments made by the GOP nominee, both during this year-and-half-long campaign, but also going back decades.
It didn’t exactly turn out that way, did it? True, Pence dealt with the recitation of some of Trump’s greatest hits as recounted by Tim Kaine by not dealing with them, instead simply brushing them aside, shaking his head as if they were being made up on the spot by the Democratic VP nominee.
It was Kaine who came out way, way too hot. If you’ll recall four years ago, Vice President Joe Biden came out similarly hot and began interrupting Paul Ryan from the get-go. It was aggressive, but somehow it wore better than what Kaine did. Obviously he was directed by operatives in the Clinton camp to do that, but that strategy looks faulty a day later.
Pence is a former talk show host, and he handled “the optics” better. It’s a TV show above all else, after all.
Unfortunately, moderator Elaine Quijano lost control early on, and never got it back.
The upshot? If the Clinton/Kaine team thinks they can coast for the next 34 days by just running on how bad Donald Trump is, I believe they’re mistaken.
Line of the night was Pence’s reaction to Kaine again reciting Trump’s calling Mexicans “rapists.” Obviously irritated, the Indiana governor responded by saying, “You whipped out that Mexican thing again.”
In other news…
Tampa House Republican Dana Young hopes to advance her career to the state Senate next month.
Hey, what a surprise here. A surfeit of progressive groups is backing Ben Diamond for the House District 68 seat.
‘Tis the season for campaign ads. Locally, HD 59 Republican Ross Spano and Hillsborough County State Attorney hopeful Andrew Warren released their new productions Tuesday.
And the House Majority PAC is using some of their millions to support Charlie Crist and rap on David Jolly. The new ad somehow blames Jolly for the whole nuclear cost recovery fee, a state issue passed during the year that Crist was running for governor a decade ago.
House Majority PAC is out with its second ad of the political cycle attacking David Jolly — this time on Florida’s controversial nuclear cost recovery law.
Called “Cost,” the ad hits the Congressional District 13 Republican for taking thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Duke Energy while saying he was doing nothing to stop the utility from charging taxpayers for a nuclear power plant that will never be built.
The ad opens with a St. Petersburg couple identified as “Lucinda and Howard J.” complaining about their utility bill from Duke continuing to rise while paying for a power plant that won’t ever be built “is ridiculous.”
The issue revolves around the 2006 nuclear cost recovery law that allows utilities like Duke and Florida Power & Light to collect billions of dollars from customers to cover nuclear construction costs. The law has been challenged several times in the courts, but still remains law.
The Florida Public Services Commission has allowed Duke to bill customers $1.2 billion since 2008 to increase generating capacity at its Crystal River nuclear plant and begin work on a new plant in Levy County. Duke retired the Crystal River plant in 2013 after unrelated construction problems, and also canceled plans for the Levy County plant.
Although the culprits for allowing that were the Republicans and Democrats in the Florida Legislature in 2006, Jolly is getting hit for not doing enough to get rid of the law. Pinellas County District 68 Democrat Dwight Dudley has introduced legislation in recent years to repeal the law, with little success.
Jolly is running against Democrat Charlie Crist in Florida’s 13th Congressional District race.
House Majority PAC is also airing ads this election cycle supporting Stephanie Murphy, the Democrat challenging John Mica in Florida’s 7th Congressional District. The Democratic-based super PAC announced six ads are airing around the country in support of Democrats running for Congress this fall.
“It is odd that they would attack David Jolly on a state issue the Congressman has no control over, when Charlie Crist actually served four years as governor and a total of 18 years in state government during and did nothing when he actually had a chance,” said Max Goodman, a spokesman for Jolly’s campaign. “In fact, the ad would be more accurate if they simply switched out David Jolly’s name, and replaced it with Charlie Crist.”
Since his selection to be Donald Trump’s running mate back in July, it’s been downright amusing at times to watch Mike Pence have to answer for his new boss while being asked about his latest outrageous comment.
“Torturous” might be the best term to explain some of the responses he’s had to come up with to defend or deflect the latest comment by the GOP standard bearer. Sure, Katrina Pierson and Jeffrey Lord have lost their dignity at times on cable news, but Pence is the current governor of Indiana and a former member of Congress who had his own political persona swallowed up because of the unique position he’s in.
Tonight, Pence takes on Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine in the vice-presidential debate from Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. They’ll be questioned by CBS’ digital news anchor Elaine Quijano, the first Asian-American moderator for a presidential or vice-presidential debate, and believe it or not, at 42, the youngest such host since Judy Woodruff in 1988.
One would presumably trust we’ll hear more about policy than we did in either the first presidential debate or on the campaign trail in general. But Quijano is going to have to be compelled to ask Pence to deal with some of Trump’s statements. No doubt we’ll hear talking points from Team Trump — that their man’s ability to use the tax code to (presumably) not pay taxes for years was “brilliant” — which is what Trump surrogates (and the man himself) have been saying for the past two days after the New York Times report on the nearly billion-dollar loss he wrote off in 1995.
And what about Kaine? While he’s been a loyal soldier to Hillary Clinton on the trail (mostly by bashing Trump), there are a few policy positions that distinguish himself from the top of the ticket. For example, Kaine supports the Hyde Amendment, which has banned taxpayer-funded abortions for nearly 40 years, yet he says he will work with Clinton to overturn it as vice president. And he was a fan of the Trans-Pacific Partnership the same week he was selected as Clinton’s running mate, then came out against it (after Clinton herself reversed her stance on the TPP).
Then again, will this matter that much? The VP debate certainly did four years ago, when Joe Biden came on incredibly aggressive (almost rude) against Paul Ryan from the jump, so determined was he to be the aggressor in win the debate after Barack Obama laid an egg against Mitt Romney in their first presidential debate.
An ABC News poll released last week found that more than 40 percent of the American public couldn’t pick Kaine or Pence out of a line-up.
In other news…
Who says Charlie Crist can’t laugh at himself? The CD 13 Democratic candidate is airing a new television ad which includes an admission about his infatuation with devices that keep him cool.
Meanwhile, the David Jolly campaign team is pumped up about a D.C. website’s projection of the race to be tightening.
The only time I met David Jolly face-to-face was at a Suncoast Tiger Bay debate in December 2013. A special election to fill the late Congressman Bill Young‘s seat had drawn three Republican candidates, as well as one Democrat and one Libertarian.
All five declared candidates were at that day’s event, and I was able to meet with each of them.
I had cordial conversations with four of the candidates.
Then, I met David Jolly.
I approached him as someone else he was talking to was just leaving. I held out my hand to shake his, and he took it and quickly shook my hand as he was looking around the room. I introduced myself, and he then said “excuse me” and left. He never even looked me in the eyes.
I tried to speak with him after the forum was over, but he was gone before I got my turn to speak any further.
In our December 2013 polls, Jolly was leading early over his two Republican opponents; at the time, he had the best numbers against Democrat Alex Sink. I still wanted to have an actual conversation with Jolly, so I sent his campaign a message asking for his position on the TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act).
A little background on the TCPA: It was passed in 1991 and had provisions to make calling or texting to cellphones illegal if you didn’t have permission from the cell’s owner.
In the summer of 2013, the Federal Communications Commission decided to change the definition of the word “consent,” from “implied consent” to “express consent.” That meant anyone wanting to call a cellphone had to get explicit permission in writing (or e-signature) to call each cellphone with a system capable of “auto-dialing.”
While this may make sense, the definition of the word “auto-dialer” in the law was reduced to “the ability to store a phone number and place a phone call.”
So, basically, anything with a redial button could technically fit the definition of an auto-dialer, and there have been court cases where that has been held as true.
There were also no protections in the law for callers dialing wrong numbers.
One of candidate Jolly’s campaign staff members called me about my message, and after a few minutes talking about the TCPA, he said he would have the candidate give me a call. I received that call on my cellphone during the last week in January; I was finally able to speak to candidate Jolly.
We talked for about five minutes about the TCPA and the problems with the way it was written, and some of my suggestions to fix the law. At the end of the conversation, he thanked me for contacting him and said he can only help me if he wins and goes to Washington.
During one of the debates, candidate Jolly talked about helping small-business owners in the district and hearing their concerns about burdensome government regulations.
That really struck a chord with me; that’s exactly who I was, a small-business owner, in his district, and I thought Congressman Jolly could help me with an old, out-of-date law that needed to be fixed.
Jolly went on to win the special election primary and then to beat Sink by a slim margin to become my new congressman. I waited a few months before calling his office to try to set up a meeting to talk with him more about fixing the TCPA.
They took my message, and never called me back.
Then, in February 2015, Congressman Jolly co-sponsored a bill (the Robo COP Act) with North Carolina Congresswoman Virginia Foxx to expand the Do-Not-Call registry to include political robocalls.
Since this was clearly related to what I wanted to discuss with him, I tried again to meet with Congressman Jolly.
Again, I received no response.
A few months later, I decided to be a little more persistent, sending his office a meeting request. I received an auto-response message back saying that I should get a response in a week.
Eight days later, I received another auto-response message, and another week after that, I finally received a reply from a human, who sent me his legislative aide’s email address and suggested that I try to schedule a meeting with her.
After a few days, I — at long last — had a meeting scheduled with an aide at the congressman’s St. Petersburg office.
On Aug. 31 I sat down with Brittany Roberts. We talked for over a half-hour about the TCPA and the problems it posed for my business and my clients because of how poorly the law was written, and how, with several clarifications, it could be fixed.
I talked about a customer of mine that serviced hospitals and how they used systems we set up and maintained. The system calls patients after being discharged to ask several questions about their health and hospital stay, giving them an option of connecting right then with a live nurse at the hospital they had just left.
I discussed how these post-discharge survey calls, like the thousands of calls we were helping our client place every day, led to a 30 percent drop in hospital readmittance, lower health care costs, and healthier patients.
Then I mentioned my client deciding they could no longer take the legal risk of calling cellphones anymore due to the TCPA. It reduced their calling by over 60 percent, and they didn’t have the budget to replace those robocalls with humans, so they just stopped placing them. They instead looked into sending out postcards, which are much less effective.
That was just one of the stories I told her about my TCPA-affected clients. I also talked about the several organizations, including the national Chamber of Commerce, that were suing the Federal Communications Commission over their recent rule changes related to the TCPA.
Over the next several months, I exchanged over a dozen emails with Ms. Roberts about the TCPA and the recent Federal Communications Commission rule changes. I was eventually referred to the Congressman’s telecommunications aide, Tim Medeiros, who called me.
I had a relatively short phone conversation with Medeiros, basically explaining everything I had already explained to Roberts, and he said he would discuss it with the congressman.
After that conversation, I never heard back from Medeiros.
While that was going on, there was also a budget fight going on in the U.S. House and Senate, and someone had slipped a TCPA exception into the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. This exception would allow companies that were servicers of federal loans to call and text cellphones any way they wanted to.
I emailed Jolly’s office about this exception, asking his position. I never received an answer.
On Oct. 28, 2015, Jolly voted for the bill, adding that new TCPA exception as the law in this country. Now, companies trying to collect student loans and other federally backed debts could call cellphones without restriction.
My last phone call with a member of Jolly’s staff was in January of this year when his communications director called me to discuss polling. At the end of our discussion, I mentioned I had been trying to get a face-to-face meeting with Jolly to discuss the TCPA.
He said he would relay the message, but that is the last that I heard from anyone on Jolly’s staff.
In May, I finally found an elected politician who understands how messed up that law is and is trying to fix it. Unfortunately, that politician is from South Dakota, over a thousand miles from where I live in Florida. Sen. John Thule held a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the TCPA and the need for reform to the decades-old law.
I’m not going to go over all the details, but testimony was given in that hearing that pretty much sums up every argument for clarifying that law. If nothing else comes out of writing this post, I hope my congressman takes a few hours to watch this video of that Senate hearing, and maybe work with Sen. Thule to help fix this law.
I know this post will probably sink any chances I have of actually meeting with Jolly. But, really, after over two years of trying, and speaking with several of his staffers, it’s pretty clear he’s not interested in my small business problems.
So, what inspired me to write this long post about my experiences trying to meet with my congressman?
He finally called me last week.
Kind of. It was a robocall with a prerecorded message from Congressman Jolly.
The same kind of robocall that he was trying to ban with a bill he sponsored last year.
Matt Florell is the owner of Fextel, Inc., a corporate phone systems company in St. Petersburg that also conducts political polls.
Charlie Crist demonstrates a sense of humor about himself in a new campaign ad that will begin airing on broadcast and cable stations in the Tampa Bay area.
Called “You Know Me,” the ad features the Democratic hopeful in Florida’s 13th Congressional race as a man of the people, showing himself as a young man with dark hair, assorted shots of him speaking with voters, and a neat twist in the middle of it.
“I’m a fan of fans,” he professes, surrounded by an assortment of the cooling devices in one quick shot.
The former governor’s penchant for keeping cool by having an ever-present fan at news conferences had always been somewhat of an inside joke among political reporters over the years, even leading to the creation of a Twitter account called “Charlie Crist’s fan.”
But the issue went national two years ago, when Rick Scott refused to go onstage for the first seven minutes of a gubernatorial debate against Crist because he had an electric fan set up near him.
“Are we really going to debate a fan?” Crist said while standing alone on stage. Several minutes later, Scott relented and joined the debate.
“That has to be the most unique beginning to any debate,” the moderator said, as did those watching on television throughout the Sunshine State.
Crist is competing against Republican David Jolly in the Nov. 8 election.
This is the final full month of the 2016 campaign cycle. In five weeks, we will know so much more about the future of the country, the state and our communities. But, no matter what, life will go on.
For those in “The Process” — Florida Politics’ term for the unending legislative campaign/legislative session system — it’s just two months before committee meetings begin.
In fact, like many people I talk to who are in “The Process,” we’re planning for the 2017 Legislative Session as they are monitoring the final weeks of the campaign season.
Of course, we all are fascinated by the presidential campaign, while the U.S. Senate race between Republican Marco Rubio and his Democratic challenger, Patrick Murphy, seems uninspiring. It’s like one of those Hollywood blockbusters with a big budget and exciting trailer, yet fails to deliver at the box office.
Fortunately for Tampa Bay politicos, there are several races which are not only competitive but are getting more interesting as Election Day approaches.
The demographics are just not on Jolly’s side. He has to win independents by a large enough margin to overcome the Democratic performance advantage in a presidential year. And I don’t know that he has the resources to make enough of a case. He’s releasing digital ads because he doesn’t have the money to go up on television. He’s hoping the super PAC funded mostly by money committed to him while he was a U.S. Senate candidate can keep him on par with Crist’s fundraising advantage.
I just don’t know if there is enough gas in the tank. Crist’s latest ad — the one in which he says “I’m a fan of fans” — is much improved on previous efforts. And there’s even this proof of how hard Crist is working:
That’s right, that’s Crist himself putting out signs on a Sunday morning. I haven’t seen that since he was running for state Senate.
The Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections will mail more than 264,000 ballots to domestic voters Tuesday. You probably have seen the countless stories about how early voting is changing campaigns, but this point cannot be stressed enough: in one of, if not the, most crucial battleground states in the country, the real Election Day is this week as opposed to the one on the calendar in November.
It’s a story for a larger piece, but in case you haven’t been paying attention, Sen. Jack Latvala has a lot to say. That’s probably nothing new, but as the incoming chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, he’s never had the kind of platform he has now. As powerful as he has been, he’s never been this powerful before.
So when Sen. Latvala speaks, it’s more important than ever to listen.
In the run-up to the 2017 Session — and certainly beyond — it is probably more important than ever to listen to what Latvala has to say. After all, he has say on, oh, about $80 billion.
Speaking of the Latvala clan, state Rep. Chris Latvala handled himself very well at last week’s candidate forum sponsored by Suncoast Tiger Bay. Admittedly, he is a friend. And Chris is a partisan (he says he’s voting for Donald Trump), but his answers on a range of issues were not only smart, but they were also well-articulated and compassionate.
More than anything, Latvala demonstrated that he’s not just his father’s son (although there certainly would be nothing wrong with that).
Latvala’s Democratic opponent, David Vogel, told Tiger Bay organizers that he would not participate in the candidate forumbecause he objected to questions asked at a previous forum by the moderator. That moderator? Yours truly.
Vogel said he didn’t like the questions Schorsch asked at another forum — namely two he posed to Joseph Bensmihen, a Republican running for a state House seat in St. Pete and a recent transplant. They were designed to show how well — or not well, actually — he knew the district, but his responses were memorable gaffes: his favorite restaurant on St. Pete’s 4th Street was a Chick-fil-A franchise, he said, and he couldn’t name the mayor who preceded current St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman.
“[Vogel] said that those questions are not serious,” Schorsch said.
First of all, Tiger Bay forums are not meant to be entirely serious. They promise to “carve up a politican for lunch,” which we all know/hope is an unserious motto.
But the kind of questions I asked Joe Bensmihen — and it should be noted that I asked each of the candidates a range of policy questions — are essential because they illuminate a candidate’s knowledge of the community he wants to represent.
“(N)ormally, we support Democrats, but lately we’ve noticed some Democrats aren’t acting like Democrats. Lisa Montelione is on that list” writes publisher Patrick Manteiga.
The endorsement notes that Montelione, Tampa’s District 7 City Councilwoman, “approved two consecutive tax increases in the City of Tampa that combined, are the largest in the city’s history.” She “also recently extended the city’s red light ticket program,” it said. “Democrats don’t privatize our policing to private, for-profit corporations. These programs hurt the poor. These tickets are hard to fight, and the system makes mistakes.” On the other hand, Harrison “is a moderate Republican. Democrats can work with him,” the paper said. … “He’s smart, compassionate, focused and does his homework. He can build coalitions.”
Look for Harrison’s campaign to waste little time printing a direct mailer with Manteiga’s words in big, bold letters.
Perhaps the most despised governmental agency in Tampa Bay is the Hillsborough Public Transportation Commission. Beholden to the local taxi industry, the PTC has almost pushed ridesharing services Uber and Lyft out of the market. Yes, a deal has been reached that may keep them here, but it’s not a certainty.
Whichever way that deal breaks, the fate of the PTC will likely be decided by the Florida Legislature, of which several Tampa Bay lawmakers have their knives out for the PTC.
This makes this one of the most interesting lobbying battles shaping up in Tallahassee.
On one side, there is the PTC and its registered lobbyists at Corcoran & Johnston. That is the firm headed by Michael Corcoran, brother of incoming House Speaker Richard Corcoran. On the other side, there is Sen. Jeff Brandes and Reps. Larry Ahern, James Grant, and Dana Young, who would like to abolish the PTC.
Incumbent Republican David Jolly scored a significant endorsement from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for re-election to Florida’s 13th Congressional District.
The Chamber is the world’s largest business organization, representing more than three million businesses across the country.
Thursday’s endorsement comes in the wake of an independent poll showing Jolly with a three-point lead over his Democratic challenger, former Gov. Charlie Crist.
The CD 13 race is among the closest in the country, one The Washington Post describes as a “nail-biter.”
According to the Chamber, Jolly has the highest lifetime rating — 97 percent — of any member of the entire 29-member Florida Congressional Delegation.
“In today’s economy, it is critical that members of Congress provide strong support of free enterprise and leadership for policies that will return the United States to its full potential,” said Chamber President Thomas J. Donohue in a statement. “Your record of support on pro-business issues earned this endorsement. We will encourage the business community to vigorously support your candidacy and will be in direct contact with our members and voters in your district promoting you as our candidate of choice.”
Jolly responded: “As someone who has owned a small business and worked extensively in business development, I know that to encourage entrepreneurship and keep our economy strong, we must reduce bureaucratic red tape, reform our complex and ever-changing tax code and streamline a regulatory system that stifles growth.”
In endorsing Jolly for CD 13, the U.S. Chamber joins former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Associated Builders and Contractors, Medal of Honor Recipient Sgt. 1st Class Gary Littrell, Florida Congressional Delegation Chair Vern Buchanan, the National Association of Realtors, and the National Federation of Independent Business.
Both the Rothenberg and Gonzales Political Report have moved the Florida CD 13 race out of the “safe” category after polling from both camps revealed “a very competitive race.”
National Democrats are boosting former Gov. Charlie Crist with another $462,000 of TV advertising in the race against incumbent Republican David Jolly for Florida’s 13th Congressional District.
The extra cash — coming from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee — could result in a “lopsided air war in the Tampa Bay area,” writes Marc Caputo of POLITICO Florida, which could represent either an opportunity for Republicans or a sign of trouble for Democrats.
All told, Crist supporters have reserved $2 million in TV ad time in the race, with only about $310,000 for Jolly.
Part of the problem, Caputo notes, is how Jolly has been at odds with National Republican Congressional Committee, which is, for the most part, staying out of the race. Jolly was branded a “liar” by the NRCC earlier this year for promoting his controversial “STOP Act” on CBS News’ “60 Minutes” program.
“Jolly’s own party appears to have given up on him and Charlie Crist is in a strong position to win FL-13, but Democrats won’t take anything for granted,” DCCC spokesman Jermaine House told POLITICO. “The voters of Pinellas County know David Jolly’s real record, including the fact that he’s supported overturning Roe v. Wade, raising the retirement age for Social Security, and has voted against increased VA funding.”
Jolly’s campaign is portraying the influx of support as a sign of trouble for Crist, particularly since recent polling has the two of them virtually tied.
“Charlie Crist is in trouble,” said Jolly campaign manager Max Goodman. “The DCCC knows it. Why else would the national committee pull money away from Patrick Murphy to try to save Charlie?”
Crist’s advertising advantage seems to come at the expense of Murphy in the race to unseat Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.
The DCCC ad time was formerly reserved for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee — to run Oct. 10-17 — to support Murphy. As Murphy trails Rubio in recent polling, the DSCC canceled its buy, replaced by the DCCC for Crist.
Democrats are eyeing CD 13 as a good chance for a pickup in the U.S. House, especially since redistricting — and the inclusion of the many African-American voters in South St. Petersburg — made it much more Democratic. Also, as a St. Petersburg native, Crist has near-universal name recognition and a distinct home-field advantage.