David Jolly Joins Race for Florida Senate Seat

His announcement comes 11 days after the Florida Supreme Court invalidated his congressional district and seven others drawn by GOP legislators as contravening a state constitutional ban on political gerrymandering.

U.S. Representative-elect David Jolly (R-FL) participates in a ceremonial swearing-in photo opportunity March 13, 2014 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

After 16 months in the House of Representatives, Florida Republican David Jolly has decided to make a bid for an open Senate seat next year. 

“Based on my record as a conservative who has gotten results in the United States Congress and who has advanced the conservative principles we ran on, I am asking the people of Florida to let me serve as their next United States Senator,” Jolly told the Tampa Bay Times newspaper in announcing for the seat of Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio. 

Jolly, 42, was first elected in a March 2014 special election to represent Florida’s 13th District, which includes Clearwater, Largo and most of St. Petersburg.

He serves on the Appropriations Committee. In May, he introduced a bill, H.R. 2465, that would boost housing stipends for military veterans pursuing college degrees after their service. 

Jolly’s announcement came 11 days after the Florida Supreme Court invalidated his congressional district and seven others drawn by Republican legislators as contravening a state constitutional ban on political gerrymandering.

The majority opinion said that the Republican-drawn map impermissibly attached a heavily Democratic piece of St. Petersburg to a safely Democratic district across Tampa Bay, ensuring that the district now held by Jolly “was more favorable to the Republican Party.” Florida’s map will be redrawn later this year and Jolly’s district could absorb more Democrats.

Representative Ron DeSantis and Lieutenant Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera also are seeking the Republican nomination for the Senate, and Representative Jeff Miller probably will enter the race soon. 

The four Republicans have different geographic bases: Jolly is from the Tampa Bay region, Miller represents Florida’s Panhandle, DeSantis holds a district in the northeastern part of the state, and Lopez-Cantera is from the Miami area.

The Democratic candidates are Representatives Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson.

Florida was the closest state in the 2012 presidential election and it probably will host one of the most competitive Senate elections in 2016. Republicans hold a 54-46 majority in the Senate.

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