U.S. Rep. Richard Nugent is supporting fellow Republican U.S. Rep. David Jolly in his bid for the U.S. Senate.
Nugent is the conservative former Hernando County Sheriff who since 2010 has represented Florida’s 11th Congressional District, covering the region north of Tampa through Sumter, Citrus, Hernando, and central Marion counties. Jolly represents Pinellas County’s 13th Congressional District.
A member of the Tea Party Caucus, Nugent most recently gained notoriety for his clash with Republican House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, which resulted in the Florida congressman’s removal from the House Rules Committee.
“I’ve had the good fortune to get to know and work with David Jolly for a long time now,” Nugent said in a prepared statement. “He is a fierce advocate for the people he represents, and crucially to me, that includes the veterans and active duty service members who call the Tampa Bay area their home.
“As a father of three soldiers,” he said, “it’s not the people in Washington who talk about veterans who get my respect; it’s the people who back it up.”
Nugent’s endorsement comes at a time when Jolly — a moderate leading the Senate race in some polls — is fending off conservative criticism, particularly from groups such as Club for Growth. In the GOP Senate primary, Jolly faces U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, who, like Nugent, also has Tea Party leanings, as well as Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and former Special Forces commander and CIA veteran Todd Wilcox.
In thanking Nugent, Jolly called him a “true conservative leader” and friend.
“Rich’s commitment to advancing conservative principles, while being a staunch advocate for our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines sets an example for all lawmakers,” Jolly said. “I am proud to share Rich’s commitment to service.”