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CD 7 opponents maneuver for advantage using David Jolly’s STOP Act

U.S. Rep. David Jolly‘s proposal to ban fundraising by sitting congressmen has become a campaign agreement in Congressional District 7. The Democratic challenger has pledged to follow it, then the incumbent said he was planning to co-sponsor Jolly’s proposal.

Jolly, who is running for Florida’s U.S. Senate seat, announced a bill this week called “The STOP Act.” It would ban sitting members of Congress or the U.S. Senate from actively fundraising for their next re-election effort.

Democratic congressional candidate Bill Phillips said Wednesday he likes the idea, and would follow it for this campaign if U.S. Rep. John Mica of Winter Park would make the same pledge.

Mica hasn’t yet vowed to give up personal fundraising just yet, but his campaign said he likes Jolly’s bill enough that he intends to be one of the original co-sponsors when it’s introduced Monday.

Phillips, a banker from Orlando, is running against Mica in the Orlando-based CD 7, which also takes in most of Seminole County.

Phillips pledged that once elected he would follow the proposal’s restrictions immediately, and do no direct fundraising for this campaign if Mica promised to do the same. He said it was a good first step in campaign finance reform. He challenged Mica to make the same pledge.

“However, there is more that we can do. We can also make campaign contributions more transparent using online technologies. The courts have indicated that in politics, money is speech. If so, people have a right to know who is speaking to them,” Phillips stated in a news release issued by his campaign.

Phillips announced his campaign in October but said he could not do much fundraising until after the courts sorted out redistricting in early December. He said he raised $40,000 by the end of December.

Mica has not yet filed nor announced his fundraising activities for the fourth quarter of 2015. On Oct. 1 his campaign had just over $400,000 in the bank.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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