U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis is endorsing fellow Pinellas County U.S. Rep. David Jolly in his bid for the U.S. Senate.
“As a Tampa Bay native, David is keenly aware of the issues facing Floridians at both the local and national levels,” Bilirakis said in a prepared statement. “His command of the legislative process and institutional knowledge will no doubt serve as a benefit to the people of Florida, especially our Veterans.
“I look forward to fostering an even stronger Tampa Bay leadership presence in Congress with a great partner and friend in the U.S. Senate.”
Bilirakis, a Palm Harbor Republican, is the four-term congressman from Florida’s 12th Congressional District. He’s on the Energy and Commerce Committee, and is vice chair of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
In thanking Bilirakis, Jolly noted their work on shared issues, including veterans’ health care, flood insurance, and efforts to improve and expand travel and tourism.
“We share a commitment to advancing common sense, conservative policies that are right for the future of our nation and the State of Florida,” he said.
Bilirakis’ endorsement follows those of U.S. Reps. Dennis Ross and Richard Nugent, as well as the backing from the Florida Fishing Industry, which is supporting Jolly as he faces a crowded GOP field. So far, Republicans in the race include U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis from North Florida, sitting Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, and Todd Wilcox, a defense contractor.
In July, a Florida Politics poll showed Jolly as the early front-runner for the GOP nomination.