Former U.S. Rep. David Jolly, R-Fla., who left the GOP last month to register with no party affiliation, announced on Wednesday that he was backing Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, the Democratic candidate, for governor.
Jolly said he voted for Gillum over former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla. Back in 2016, Jolly and DeSantis both ran for the U.S. Senate but got out of the Republican primary when U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., decided at the last moment that he was running for a second term.
"I've turned in my ballot. I voted for Andrew Gillum. The reason is simple: it's because I've served with Ron DeSantis,” Jolly said in a statement showcased by the Gillum team.
Jolly emerged in Florida politics in 2014 when he edged former state CFO Alex Sink in a special election called after the death of longtime U.S. Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla. Later that year, Jolly won a full term in his own right and turned his eyes to the U.S. Senate, launching a bid after Rubio announced he would run for the Republican presidential nomination instead of a second term in the Senate.
When Rubio announced at the last moment that he would seek a second term, Jolly decided to seek reelection. But he faced a major Democratic challenger in former Gov. Charlie Crist who won in 2016 taking 52 percent while the Republican incumbent pulled 48 percent.
Since losing to Crist, Jolly has remained politically active, taking shots at President Donald Trump in the media and working with U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., on a tour of Florida to “pull back the curtain on Washington and shine a light on the inside reasons why D.C. is in a state of chaos and dysfunction.” Jolly and Murphy made appearances across the Sunshine State on “Why Gridlock Rules Washington and How We Can Solve the Crisis.”
While there had been buzz that Jolly would try to take Crist on in a rematch, pointing to the special congressional election in Pennsylvania, the former Republican congressman announced back in March that he would not seek office this year. There had also been buzz that Jolly would be Murphy’s running mate if that Democrat ran for governor. But Murphy stayed out of the race and threw his support to former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, D-Fla., for governor.
Earlier this year, Jolly joined Shumaker Advisors in the Tampa Bay region where he will work on ballot initiatives and community issues including building a new stadium to keep the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team in the Sunshine State.
Jolly is hosting a new radio show through Genesis Communications as "David Jolly: Unbiased and Unplugged” launched on WWBA in Tampa Bay and on WIXC in Melbourne-Titusville on Wednesday.
"I'm excited to join the Genesis lineup," said Jolly on Tuesday. "Florida, especially the I-4 corridor, is an increasingly important political landscape, and it'll be great to reach it through the Genesis network."
"David Jolly is one of the most respected commentators out there, and we're honored to have him with Genesis," said Genesis Communications Owner and Managing Director Bruce Maduri. "His legislative experience gives him a unique perspective on current affairs, and his commitment to bipartisanship is a much-needed component of our political discourse."