Republican David Jolly wins vacant Pinellas Congressional seat

03/12/14 Samuel Johnson
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Tags: Alex Sink, David Jolly, Lucas Overby, Obama Care, Affordable Care Act, Bill Young VA Medical Center, MacDill Air Force Base, Democrat, Republican, Libertarian


David Jolly Greets Supporters after Victory Speech

photo by SVJ-031214

Republican David Jolly won the closely-watched special election in Pinellas County Tuesday.The crowded room at a hotel on Sand Key was humming with supporters savoring a win over Democrat Alex Sink and Libertarian Lucas Overby.

Florida’s 13th Congressional district was left vacant after the death of Representative C.W. "Bill" Young last October. David Jolly had been an aid to Young for several years until 2007 when he departed to become a lobbyist in Washington. Jolly said he will focus on representing Pinellas County interests in the nation’s capital.

“We're going to lay out a legislative plan here in the next couple of weeks. I think we have 4 or 5 key issues we want to work on. Listen, this is a local race. We have a homeless veterans issue here and we have a great human services provider right here in the county that's a model for the country. We need to tackle local issues like that. Then, obviously, the voters know where we stand on our view of government. I think less government interference in the individual's life is right. So, I will continue to advance that as well.”

Military and veteran’s issues are in the forefront of some voters minds because of nearby MacDill Air Force Base and Bill Young VA Medical Center. Reverend Bob Swick, a Democrat, said he voted across party lines because he trusts Jolly on these issues.

“What he's done for veterans, and I'm an advocate for veterans. I'm a missionary. I know what he's done in the past. He's been with the veterans at Walter Reed at Bethesda; he's walked it. He's brought our defense contractors into a coalition so that got greater strength against the big contractors. He's brought money and talent and jobs to this community.”

The Republican Young represented the district for decades, but a tight race was predicted because voters in the district narrowly favored Barack Obama in 2012. Glenn Pav, a conservative Christian radio host, said Jolly prevailed because of a grassroots, door to door campaign.

“If it wasn't for the grassroots movement and basically the Tea Party conservatives in the Republican Party, (then) David Jolly wouldn't have had a prayer. We are a very strong conservative right side of the Party (Republican) in that respect.”

Millions of dollars of money from outside Pinellas County were spent on ads attacking either Democrat Alex Sink or Jolly. Many of the ads criticizing Sink focused on her support for the Affordable Care Act. But some voters may have been more turned off that Sink only moved to the district when she decided to run. Jolly said he values Sink’s contributions

“I thanked her for putting herself out as a candidate and I thanked her for the respect with which she treated me. I told her that I intended to do that as well. We pledged to work together. Alex will make decisions what's next; what's the next chapter in her life. I look forward to having her in Pinellas County.”

In an email statement today the National Rifle Association welcomed Jolly as the “Newest Pro-Second Amendment Member of Congress.”

Paul Marino, vice president of the Largo GOP club, predicts more Republican victories in the November mid-term elections.

“This is a litmus test; a litmus test for November 2014 nationwide. In fact, I can't wait to get to my computer and communicate with the team that's running Dan Bongino campaign in western Maryland. They're up against a tough situation. But this is extremely meaningful to what they're doing there. And this is going to be a primer for 2014 November. We're going to take 6 seats in the Senate.”

David Jolly will need to defend his seat in Congress in the November election. In a conference call Wednesday national Democratic leaders said they hope Sink will run for this district again.

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