Kathy Castor draws Republican challenger Jay Collins
Jay Collins. Image via Jay Collins campaign.

Jay Collins
Collins is an Army Green Beret and Purple Heart Amputee.

Army veteran Jay Collins is challenging incumbent U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor for Florida’s 14th Congressional District.

Collins, an Army Green Beret and Purple Heart amputee, announced his candidacy Tuesday for the Hillsborough County district. Collins is entering the race as a Republican. 

“In combat, we stayed in the fight regardless of the adversity we faced — whatever it took, no matter how tough the challenge, we had to get the job done. That’s how I’ll fight for Florida families in Congress,” he said in a statement. 

Collins served in the military for more than 20 years, deployed four times as a Green Beret. He lost his leg as a result of injuries in combat but continued serving in active duty in various Special Forces leadership roles for another five and a half years. 

After the military, Collins began working for a nonprofit. In 2019, he ran and biked from Los Angeles to his home in Tampa while feeding veterans, first responders, and disaster victims across the country.

“As a Green Beret, I’ve faced some of our worst enemies, and I’ve seen how blessed we are to live in this country. I will fight for the conservative principles that have made our nation great so my children can grow up with the same opportunities I had,” Collins said in a statement. 

Collins also highlighted several campaign priorities, planning to “fight the liberal agenda that hikes taxes, defunds the police, opens our borders, and threatens our national security,” according to a news release announcing his candidacy.

“Our government wasn’t designed for political dynasties or career politicians like Kathy Castor to hold power for decades and decades. I’m not a career politician. I’m a husband, a father, and a Green Beret,” Collins said in a statement. “I’m ready to go to Congress and fight to implement term limits to get rid of career politicians, keep our nation and border secure, defend our police, and put a stop to (Nancy) Pelosi and Castor’s tax hikes and bloated government spending.”

The newcomer will likely face an uphill battle against the Democratic incumbent, who has held the seat with relative ease since her initial election in 2006.

In 2020, Castor bested Republican challenger Christine Quinn 60% to 40%. Quinn had previously lost to Castor in 2016 62% to 38%. In 2018, Castor ran unopposed.

Besides her strong ties to the seat, the district also leans blue — but, with redistricting on the horizon, current partisan leanings may change. According to the most recent Supervisor of Elections report, the district comprises 463,486 total voters — 194,836 Democrats, 131,463 Republicans and 137,187 third party or nonpartisan voters.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected]


13 comments

  • zhombre

    July 20, 2021 at 5:51 pm

    Good,. I’ll support Collins. Vote all Democrats out of office.

    • Charlotte Greenbarg

      July 21, 2021 at 7:45 am

      Agree. Castor is a parrot for the left. Unresponsive to any opposing views Jay Collins deserves the position because he’s earned it

  • Bill

    July 21, 2021 at 8:47 am

    He wont get more than 30% of the vote.

    • Deb Clark

      July 21, 2021 at 5:11 pm

      You just wait and see!

  • Scott

    July 21, 2021 at 9:12 am

    I know Jay — he is an amazing person and a great American. Don’t count him out, he will put up one heck of a fight.

    • jim6555

      July 21, 2021 at 10:18 am

      He may have outstanding credentials but in 2022, he will be stuck with the mess that has been caused by the National Republican Party. I’m referring to the January 6 attack on the Capitol, obstructionism of Mitch McConnell and others which has kept bi-partisan legislation from being considered, the almost every day media presence of Marjory Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz, and the soon to be realized screwups of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis on stopping the Delta variant of Corona Virus from reaching a major portion of our population. The year 2022 will not be a good one for Republicans.

      • Deb Clark

        July 21, 2021 at 5:12 pm

        Wrongo, MaryLou.

  • Jim Jacobs

    July 21, 2021 at 10:27 am

    He may have outstanding credentials but in 2022, he will be stuck with the mess that has been caused by the National and Florida Republican Parties. I’m referring to the January 6 attack on the Capitol, obstructionism of Mitch McConnell and others which has kept bi-partisan legislation from being considered, the almost every day media presence of Marjory Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz, and the soon to be realized screwups of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis on stopping the Delta variant of Corona Virus from reaching a major portion of our population. DeSantis may also take a hit on red tide id the Piney Point leak and subsequent release of toxins into the gulf are proven to be responsible for this mess. The year 2022 will not be a good one for Republicans.

    • zhombre

      July 21, 2021 at 4:46 pm

      “The year 2022 will not be a good one for Republicans.” Let’s wait and see on that, slick.

  • Layla collins

    July 21, 2021 at 10:40 pm

    Thank you all. Please follow this link for his website and to support Jay. It will not be an easy fight, but nothing worthwhile is easy, http://www.jaycollinsforcongress.com

    • Bob Bob

      July 26, 2021 at 2:51 pm

      i will not support Jay’s effort to become one more politician. I strongly suggest he reconnect with the VA. No one in the right mind (PSTD) or without larceny in their heart aspires to become a politician.
      Bob

      I hope Jay loses and gets the help he needs.

  • Jack

    July 24, 2021 at 9:38 pm

    Kathy Caster is Nacy Pelosi’s little gerbil that runs in circles on a wheel and does not get much done for her (FL14 )constituents except “bark” the Democrats talking points. She pontificates how she gives this and gives that, but it is our money she is giving away.

  • Bob Bob

    July 26, 2021 at 2:46 pm

    wow.
    A decorated Vet wants to be come a politician. wtf?

    So very sad that Decorated Vet Collins would want to tarnish his good name by becoming a another scumbag politician.

Comments are closed.


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