David Jolly – Florida Politics

Gwen Graham walks back comments about possible David Jolly lieutenant governor pick

Democrat Gwen Graham now says she’s committed to picking a Democrat as her lieutenant governor, after previously saying she was open to selecting former Republican U.S. Rep. David Jolly for the role.

An earlier report from POLITICO Florida’s Marc Caputo highlighted Graham’s comments on Jolly to the Miami-based “Strange Days” podcast.  Jolly has been rumored to enter the race on a unity ticket for some time. Until now, the rumors have paired him with former Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy. On the podcast, Graham had said she’s eyeing both men as possible picks for lieutenant governor.

“I see my lieutenant governor selection as someone who’s going to be right by my side helping me get this state back on the right path,” said Graham on the Miami-based “Strange Days” podcast. “And so Patrick would certainly fit that definition, as would David, as would all the other candidates for governor on the Democratic ticket at the moment. So it’s really going to be for me a thorough analysis of who can bring the most to help make the biggest difference in the state of Florida.”

She went on to say Jolly, a former Republican congressman from Florida’s 13th Congressional District, was a friend. Graham said she was looking for “someone who can help me govern.”

Now, Graham says a Jolly pick is out of the question. “For lieutenant governor, I will choose a Democrat who reflects my progressive values: a woman’s right to choose, supporting public schools, raising the minimum wage, fighting climate change, expanding health care with a public option, and passing bold gun safety legislation.”

The Andrew Gillum campaign had called out Graham for her appeals to bipartisanship.

“It’s beyond frustrating that the self-described ‘very conservative’ Gwen Graham is already considering splitting the ticket to run with the GOP, especially with an energized Democratic base ready to vote Republicans out,” said Orlando state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, one of Gillum’s campaign surrogates.

Gillum supporters have already gone after Graham, accusing her of not being liberal enough. Just last week, a super PAC called The Collective launched a campaign ad attacking Graham’s voting record while she was in Congress. Graham sniped back at the Gillum camp, calling on them to denounce the ad.

Orlando state Rep. Amy Mercado said of the ad and Gillum, “These type of dirty tricks have no place in our state or our party, and he should immediately call for the ad to be taken down.”

Graham added: “This is the first public Democrat attacking Democrat that I have seen in this campaign. And it really does disappoint me. And I would hope Andrew would recognize that this is not the right thing to do and would ask The Collective PAC to pull it down because that ad is just full of lies.”

While Jolly is a Republican, he has emerged as a sharp critic of President Donald Trump, which could help negate any backlash of the pick from the Democratic base.

That criticism was noted by Graham in her announcement clarifying her position on Jolly. “While and I obviously disagree on many issues, like many progressives, I do respect his bravery taking on — more than even some Democrats in the race for governor have been willing to do. Every day, I am disgusted that more Republicans, like and , refuse to stand up to and defend decency and our democracy — refuse to place our country and our state ahead of politics. It is appalling.”

Poll: A Patrick Murphy-David Jolly ticket reflects Democrats’ desire for the middle

A newly commissioned poll suggests that Democratic voters are seriously interested in a “unity” ticket that would be led by former U.S. Reps. Patrick Murphy, a Democrat, and David Jolly, a Republican, in Florida’s gubernatorial race.

The poll’s more significant ramification, however, may be that Florida’s Democrats may prefer a compromising moderate Democrat to a staunch progressive idealist.

The poll by Frederick Polls, an outfit that Politico points out was Murphy’s pollster, puts a Murphy-Jolly ticket atop the Democratic field, taking 21 percent, compared with 17 percent for Philip Levine and 12 percent for Gwen Graham, with Andrew Gillum and Chris King showing in for support.

Yet the result might be more about Florida Democrats desire to see unity in the spirit of “getting things done” than any explicit support for Murphy and Jolly, who’ve been dropping hints about a unity ticket after spending much of the past year touring together on a bipartisan two-man show against hyperpartisan politics.

The question as Frederick Polls, of Arlington, Va., posed it was:

“Some people are urging Patrick Murphy to run for Governor and pick David Jolly, a moderate and independent former Republican Congressman, as his Lt. Governor running mate. They say it would be a clear sign Murphy would be a different kind of Governor who would work together with reasonable Republicans in Tallahassee to set aside Florida’s old, partisan politics and get things done for Florida. In this case, who would you vote for in the Democratic Primary for Governor?”

The survey was of 750 likely Democratic primary voters, taken April 23-28 through a mixture of landline and cellphones.

Murphy and Jolly both ran for the U.S. Senate two years ago. Jolly, who was then a Republican Congressman from Clearwater, pulled out when U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio decided to run for re-election after all, while Murphy, then a Democratic congressman from Palm Beach Gardens, lost to Rubio in the general. Since then, the two have united in their message that partisan politics have ruined Congress, touring college campuses and other venues in Florida and nationally.

The central question that put a Murphy-Jolly ticket atop the Democratic field was not the only one suggesting that Florida’s Democratic voters want someone seeking the middle.

Voters picked, 70-22, “a moderate Democrat who is willing to work together with reasonable Republicans to get things done,” over “a who is committed to fighting for true progressive policies without compromise.”

Before they were asked about the unity ticket the voters were asked just about the four announced candidates, plus Murphy, and Murphy finished tied with Graham for second, with 14 percent, while Levine grabbed 20 percent.

Even with that, and with Gillum and King, 44 percent of voters still declared they are undecided.

Joe Henderson: Potential Murphy-Jolly ticket just not believable

Politicians do love to have their egos stroked, especially when someone whispers: “Hey, you are the answer to all the problems we face. You are the only hope for this state.”

The latest example of this seems to be a story that caught legs a couple of days ago, the one where a couple of well-known names from different political parties may be considering joining forces for a gubernatorial campaign.

I refer, of course, to Democrat Patrick Murphy and Republican David Jolly.

Having the two run on one ticket — Murphy as governor, Jolly as his loyal lieutenant — sounds like something a screenwriter would come up with for a movie plot about fixing government dysfunction.

I suppose we have to allow that anything is possible, especially in a political world where Donald Trump was elected president. But I just can’t see much long-term potential in something like this. To think the pair could win, or even make a significant dent in the vote totals, is just not believable.

I like and respect Jolly, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pinellas County, for his maverick views on how the people we elect to public office should conduct themselves.

After losing his seat in Congress, he has reinvented himself.

He has turned into a regular on MSNBC’s political talk shows, where he is pointed and precise. He also appears to harbor a dream that Republicans will one day come to their senses and become principled conservatives again instead of strident ideologues.

That may well happen one day but doesn’t mean there will be a place at the Republican table for Jolly if it does. He didn’t just burn his political bridges, he nuked them. Would Democrats accept him as one their own? Not likely, although, well … there is noted party-flipper Charlie Crist.

And Murphy, a two-term Congressman, didn’t excite anyone during his ill-executed run in 2016 against Marco Rubio for the U.S. Senate.

It is true that the current Democratic field of candidates — Andrew Gillum, Gwen Graham, Philip Levine and Chris King — doesn’t exactly have the state buzzing yet.

It’s early.

It is also worth noting that a large and enthusiastic crowd turned out last weekend in Hillsborough County to listen to those four candidates at the Democrats’ Spring Fling fundraiser.

That brings up Jolly’s favorite topic — fundraising. He went very public with his disgust at the amount of time members of Congress were expected to spend on raising cash to fund party initiatives.

Well, coming up with enough money to fuel a long-shot governor’s bid would require begging, groveling, and making promises this proposed ticket probably couldn’t keep.

And if by chance a Murphy-Jolly ticket did get in the race, and it later could be shown that it cost Democrats the governor’s mansion, Murphy would be a pariah in his own party from here to eternity.

Murphy and Jolly have a very public bromance going, and they are traveling the country explaining exactly what’s wrong with Washington.

As the website for the Bob Graham Center at the University of Florida notes, the tour is designed to “pull the curtain back on how we got here, to shine a light on the inside reasons why Washington has fallen into stalemate and dysfunction.”

They also offer proposed solutions.

Certainly, a campaign built around that theme sounds interesting in theory.

The truth is, though, it sounds even more like a publicity stunt that I believe both men would regret in the long run.

A Patrick Murphy-David Jolly gubernatorial run isn’t the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard, but …

Former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy seems to be under the mistaken impression that because he was his party’s standard-bearer in the 2016 U.S. Senate race, that he is the party’s leader.

So when the Democrat watched last week’s televised debate among the four announced gubernatorial candidates, Murphy, according to a source very familiar with his thinking about what he may be planning, sized up the field and said, ‘Hey, I can do better than that.’

While there’s no arguing with Murphy’s concept that Andrew Gillum, Gwen Graham, Philip Levine and Chris King looked like, as the Tampa Bay Times’ Tim Nickens observed, they are not ready for prime time or with his conceit that he may be able to do better than that quartet, the possibility of a Patrick Murphy-David Jolly gubernatorial ticket isn’t the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard, but it’s not only implausible, it’s practically insulting.

After putting down Alan Grayson in the Democratic primary in 2016, Murphy ran a lackluster campaign against Marco Rubio, losing worse than he should have.

After redistricting shaded his congressional district more blue than red, Jolly lost a quixotic bid to hang on to a seat that had become decidedly Democratic.

Since those campaigns, Murphy and Jolly have fostered a friendship and have traveled across the U.S. on their tour “Why gridlock rules Washington and how we can solve the crisis.

The duo has become the toast of editorial boards everywhere.

Politicos who yearn for a “third way” in American politics would love to see a Murphy-Jolly ticket, just as they wanted to see a John Kerry-John McCain unity ticket in 2004.

You know who is not clamoring for a Murphy-Jolly ticket? Florida voters, especially Democratic ones. And Murphy will quickly find that out in the polling he has commissioned to gauge his statewide viability.

Oh sure, when asking voters generically about, say, ‘two centrist leaders with experience in government,’ the numbers will be through the roof, but when you ballot-test Murphy-Jolly vs. the field, reality will set in.

What Murphy wants Democratic primary voters to do is pick him, a two-term congressman (hey, that’s twice as long as Graham’s time in D.C.) with a bent for moderation over a field of tried-and-true progressives. Part of his plan is a commitment to name as his running mate a former Republican lawmaker and lobbyist who agrees with very little in the Democratic platform other than Donald Trump is no bueno.

If this weren’t Florida politics, I’d say you were making this all up.

Unfortunately, this is reality and here’s where my words get serious. For one, Murphy’s plan to name Jolly as his running mate should be taken as an insult by true Democrats. They’ve been in the wilderness for more than twenty years, and now, with their first genuine shot of winning back the Governor’s Mansion, Murphy (a former Republican himself) wants to enlist the help of his while male buddy to get the job done. Neither of whom has worked day one in state government.

Democrats should tell him thanks, but no thanks. They should tell Murphy he’s more than welcome to join the Democratic primary, as candidate qualifying doesn’t close for a month. But they should insist he commit to not naming any Republican — be it Jolly or someone else — to the ticket.

I may be down on a Murphy-Jolly ticket, but I do have to give Murphy credit for something. Like John Morgan, he’s helped expose the weaknesses of this Democratic field — that Gillum is too radical, that Graham is over-emotive on the stump and underwhelming on fundraising calls, that Levine is from that foreign land known as Miami-Dade, and that King begins his day reading the Sayfie Review.

All four of these candidates continue to plead to party activists and the media that they are the real deal.

One of the four may eventually become something like the real deal, but because they’re not now, the door is open for one of the most interesting political partnerships since Matt Santos named Arnold Vinik his Secretary of State.

Charlie Crist has $2.1M on hand for CD 13 re-election

Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist announced Thursday that his re-election campaign will report bringing in $447,000 in contributions during the first three months of 2018.

Crist is currently in his first term representing Florida’s 13th Congressional District.

“It’s such an honor to serve the people of Pinellas County. I’m grateful for each and every contribution and volunteer helping us continue our work to expand access to affordable healthcare coverage, ban assault weapons, and protect our environment.”

The full report isn’t viewable via the Federal Elections Website yet, though Crist’s campaign said it will show the about $2.1 million cash on hand as of March 31. Crist had $1.76 million in the bank at the end of 2017. Given his fundraising total, the campaign spent about $100,000 for the quarter.

Crist is so far cruising toward re-election. Eight months out from Election Day, his only challenger is Republican George Buck, who looks like he’s not ready for primetime.

Former Republican U.S. Rep. David Jolly, whom Crist defeated in 2016, announced last month that he wouldn’t run for the seat in 2018.

David Jolly, Patrick Murphy bring bipartisanship roadshow to Jacksonville Tuesday

The speaking tour continues for two former congressmen, with a stop at Jacksonville University Tuesday evening.

Republican David Jolly and Democrat Patrick Murphy will discuss a question they have been mulling since last summer: “Why Gridlock Rules Washington and How We Can Solve the Crisis.”

The event kicks off at 7:00 p.m. at JU’s Davis School of Business.

Jolly, a Republican from Pinellas County, won the special election in early 2014 to succeed the late Bill Young; he was re-elected later that year. He lost his bid for re-election in 2016 to Democrat Charlie Crist after his 13th Congressional District was redrawn up with plenty more Democrats after the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the district had been illegally drawn up by the Florida Legislature.

“I think what Patrick and I are focusing in on is regardless of where you consider yourself on the (political) spectrum, there’s a path forward to working together, and in this environment I don’t think there’s enough people speaking to that,” said Jolly.

Murphy was a two-term Democratic Representative from Jupiter who narrowly defeated Republican Allen West in Florida’s 18th Congressional District in 2012. He was the Democratic Party’s nominee for U.S. Senate last fall but lost to GOP incumbent Marco Rubio.

“One of the biggest things that are frustrating Americans on both sides of aisle, and perhaps resulting somewhat in President Trump’s election, was the lack of progress that people have been seeing,” said Murphy last year.

David Jolly and Patrick Murphy taking their tour national

Jolly & Murphy are taking their “Why Gridlock Rules Washington” show national, with upcoming gigs booked at Harvard University and in Washington, D.C., and Chicago.

The duo, made up of Republican former U.S. Rep. David Jolly of Belleair Bluffs and Democratic former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy of Jupiter, has been touring Florida universities and town halls for a few months now, offering biting looks at how hyper-partisan politics from both of their parties have gotten in the way of governing, and their hopeful views for why and how that should be overcome.

Next Thursday the duo will be appearing at Harvard University in Massachusetts, hosted by the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at the Harvard Institute of Politics.

In April they’ve got appearances set at Tufts University in Massachusetts and Florida House on Capitol Hill in D.C. In May they’ll be at the University of Chicago, in an event moderated by David Axelrod, chief strategist for Barack Obama‘s presidential campaigns.

They’ve also got several more appearances set in Florida in coming weeks, and more national gigs being discussed.

Murphy is the one with the mischievous heart-throb looks and the romantic optimism. Jolly is the one with the rugged bad-boy looks and the rebellious reputation. When it comes to singing hyper-partisan politics blues, or political kumbaya love songs, they harmonize.

“Despite the frustrations with Washington, we believe there are solutions to the gridlock and are excited to pull back the curtain for more people across the country to get involved in our democracy!” Murphy stated in a news release. “We’re grateful for anyone willing to have an open dialogue about fixing D.C. and honored that these schools and groups have opened their doors to us.”

“The response to our town halls has been overwhelming and I think that speaks to the desire by people to see Republicans and Democrats work together, not against each other, to solve our biggest issues,” Jolly added.

Joe Henderson: Timing may never be right again for David Jolly

Because it’s best to never rule out anything in politics, I offer this qualifier: Perhaps the time will come again for David Jolly to make another run for public office.

Having said that, I honestly doubt it.

In a tweet late Tuesday night, Jolly said he won’t try to regain his seat in Congress by challenging U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist in November.

As he noted, “politics is about timing” and given what could be a Democrat tsunami in the November mid-terms, Jolly said he will dedicate his efforts toward being part of a primary challenge in 2020 to Donald Trump.

I like David Jolly and his maverick ways, but the political reality is that he is a man without a party right now. Even as a Congressman from Pinellas County, he angered Republican Party bosses by going rogue on “60 Minutes” with his disgust at how much of his day was spent fund-raising.

After losing his re-election bid in 2016 to Crist, Jolly has made bridge-burning a daily habit – not that he is wrong. He has become a national go-to quote when someone needs a Republican to rip Trump.

He shows up frequently on panels at MSNBC and doesn’t hold back at how he feels Trump is ruining the cause of conservatism and the country.

It makes for compelling theater, and Jolly does make a reasoned argument that the Trump presidency is a disaster and our political system is broken.

But speaking the truth can have consequences, and Jolly would surely face them if he ever tried to run for national office again. Democrats wouldn’t support him over one of their own, and Republicans would shun him like he had typhoid.

Maybe he could run for state office, but he likely still would face those same obstacles. Even if he were elected, he would likely be a pariah in his own party once he reported to work.

He could follow the Crist model and change parties, but that doesn’t seem to be his style. What Jolly seems to want is for the Republican Party to come to its senses and reject the kind of extremism that has been the Trump brand.

Good luck with that.

It likely will take a ballot-box slaughter in November and maybe one in 2020 as well for any sort of reasoned moderation to take hold in the GOP. By that time, Democrats could be back in control while Republicans search for a new identity that doesn’t scare the crap out of voters and our allies.

Where does that leave David Jolly?

For at least the time being, it leaves him right where he is – on the front line of visible opposition to his own party. It leaves him to fight an uphill battle to restore some conservative sanity to the GOP message.

And it leaves him as a politician without an election.

Like I said, we learned in 2016 that anything can happen in politics, so never say never. Right now though, Jolly will have to be content to call it like he sees it from the sidelines. He can only hope someone is paying attention.

Politics is about timing: David Jolly won’t run for elected office in 2018

David Jolly will remain a spectator, albeit an active one, in 2018.

The former U.S. Representative is not looking to return to elective politics this year, referring to a tight Pennsylvania 18th Congressional District special election Tuesday night in a district Donald Trump won by more than 20 points in 2016.

Making the announcement on Twitter, Jolly also suggested Trump should be “primaried in 2020.” He came to the decision with his wife, Laura.

Jolly said: “Politics is about timing. 4 years ago tonight I was elected in a district Obama won twice. Laura & I have considered another run, but watching PA, this is not the year to re-enter politics. Trump should be primaried in 2020. Our focus tonight is on being a part of that primary.”

Since the bitter presidential election, Jolly, an Indian Shores Republican, has been an outspoken critic of Trump.

David Jolly: Assault weapon license should be as hard to get as White House security clearance

David Jolly says he’s not sure that a ban on assault weapons is possible in Washington, but believes a solution that could happen immediately is to make them “functionally obsolete” for the average citizen.

“Make the requirements to get an assault weapon as hard as it is to get a security clearance in this White House,” the former Republican congressman quipped to laughs while addressing the Cafe Con Tampa crowd at the Oxford Exchange Friday morning.

“That would be a yearlong process,” he said, turning serious to say that it would allow authorities to get as much information about a person’s background as possible, including serious training and storage requirements that he thinks would only allow the most trained sportsman or woman to handle.

Like many Republicans, he also says that enforcing current laws on the books to a greater extent would also work, or as he says, “Enforce the gun laws as strictly as Donald Trump wants to enforce the immigration laws.”

Though not a card-carrying NRA member, Jolly did receive $9,600 in contributions from the gun rights organization in his special election against Democrat Alex Sink in 2014 and was the beneficiary of the group spending more than $100,000 against Sink in that same campaign.

He said the current background check process is relatively toothless, consisting of a criminal conviction check and little else. People’s mental health history, including counseling, is currently not part of such a check.

And with all that has been learned about Parkland confessed shooter Nikolas Cruz, Jolly said it should be.

Universal and comprehensive background checks should include every transaction involved with a gun, Jolly said, so if somebody wants to sell it to a family member, it should be done at the local sheriff’s department.

Jolly said he’s now “evolved” to the point where he believes such medical background history needs to be included in such a background check.

Joining the Indian Shores Republican in the discussion was former Treasure Coast Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy, who called guns like the AR-15 “weapons of war” designed to kill human beings, and said they need to go away.

Cruz used an AR-15 to kill 17 people last week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last week.

“If you need 50 rounds to kill a deer, you need a new sport. Bottom line,” he said.

Murphy said in the current climate in Washington (controlled by Republicans in both the House and Senate)  banning assault weapons isn’t a viable possibility, but says it should be the ultimate goal.

Eliminating bump stocks, addressing mental health and reinforcing school safety are “baby steps” that Murphy believes are possible to achieve now.

A joint appearance by two moderate former members of Congress (who collectively only spent six and a half years in Washington) was part of their traveling road show on ways to get Washington working better, a tour they are holding across the state and other parts of the country since the fall.

To their credit, Jolly and Murphy aren’t preaching to the crowd that they need to be as moderate politically as they are, but that it’s essential to find common ground to fix the problems that our political system is supposed to do but has been breaking down over the past few decades into increased partisan rancor.

Jolly attributes the beginning of the fissure was the mid-1990s when Newt Gingrich led the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives. However, he also insists that Democrats were poised to do the same thing if they were in charge (which they were for decades in the U.S. House before 1994).

“Newt Gingrich realized not only did we take control of the House of Representatives, we’re now going to demand that K Street give us all their money that they’ve been giving to Democrats,” he said, “and then we’re going to go around the country and set up these funds to push lobbyists money into the states, so we can take over our state legislatures, and start to redistrict, start to close primaries, and put a chokehold that ensures that Republicans have a structural advantage for the next couple of decades.”

“And that’s what they did.”

After losing a re-election bid after redistricting in Florida’s 13th Congressional District in 2016 to Charlie Crist, Jolly has become omnipresent on CNN and MSNBC as one of the most outspoken Republican critics to President Trump. Although he’s said as recently as a month ago that he was still considering a run for office in 2018, he all but admitted on Friday that’s increasingly unlikely.

“Not only am I candidate without a party, I’m a candidate without a donor base.”

He did add that he is already involved with efforts to help out a Republican primary presidential challenge to Trump in 2020, having recently met with Republicans in both Iowa and Washington D.C.

Murphy said the teenagers who were directly affected by the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School and have been protesting this week about gun violence give him great hope.

“It’s powerful for our country,” he said.

Murphy concluded: “To get involved, to knock on doors, to get out there to vote, or at least get others to vote. That’s a powerful thing. Politicians, by and large, will care more about that than the money, or anything else, if they see that as a sustaining movement, it can’t be one week, two weeks and done.

“This has to continue for months, and unfortunately probably years to be effective, but with the passion that I see, I am optimistic that this can be a generation that does lead to results.”

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