Republican and Army veteran Jay Collins is shifting his campaign from Florida’s 14th Congressional District to Florida’s 15th Congressional District following the finalization of the state’s new Congressional map. The newly-drawn CD 15 has a slight GOP-advantage compared to the redrawn, heavily Democratic CD 14.
Collins’ original campaign for CD 14 pit him against fellow conservative James Judge and Democratic incumbent Kathy Castor. While Castor has had a strong hold on the district for the past decade, the new Congressional map makes the district a safe Democratic seat — President Joe Biden won the district with 58.8% of the vote, compared to Donald Trump’s 39.72%.
Now, Collins faces a crowded Republican Primary race for CD 15, which covers northern Hillsborough County and parts of Pasco and west Polk — making it a Trump +3 seat with a GOP-advantage.
“I applaud Gov. (Ron) DeSantis for doing the job of the career politicians in Tallahassee who were unable to agree on new congressional boundaries for the upcoming election despite repeated calls to do so. Now that the district lines are finalized, I have determined that the best way to put a stop to the career politicians in both parties is to run in the newly drawn 15th District,” Collins said in a statement.
Collins will become the second Republican in the past two days to shift his campaign to CD 15. On Monday, Navy veteran Kevin “Mac” McGovern announced his shift into the CD 15 race.
The pair will face state Rep. Jackie Toledo, former Congressman Dennis Ross and Navy veteran Demetries Grimes in the Republican Primary. While the race is open, the GOP field has several competitive candidates, shaping it into an interesting Primary race. Trump won the 2020 Presidential Election in the district with 50.86% of the vote, compared to Democrat Joe Biden’s 47.74%.
“For far too long, career politicians have put their own interests ahead of their constituents. We need to send someone to Washington who will stand up to the radical agenda of Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi and AOC,” Collins continued.
Collins, a Purple Heart amputee, 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.
“I truly believe the soul of our republic is at stake thanks to the far-left extremists in the Democrat Party hellbent on taking away our freedoms. What saddens me are the career politicians in the Republican Party who would rather look out for their own interests than fight tooth and nail to stop the Democrats. If I had that attitude on the battlefield, I would have lost far more than just a leg,” Collins said. “The people of Florida have my word that we will continue to stand up for conservative values, take the fight to career politicians, and always protect the Florida communities we love and call home.”