A prominent Florida Republican is continuing his “never Trump” activities, joining a conservative organization led by one of the president’s rivals in 2016.
Former U.S. Rep. David Jolly, R-Fla., was frequently critical of Donald Trump in last year’s presidential election and told Sunshine State News that he was not going to endorse the GOP’s presidential candidate. Jolly lost his seat to former Gov. Charlie Crist last year and he has remained critical of Trump since then.
Former presidential candidate Evan McMullin, a former Republican staffer on Capitol Hill and CIA operative, who ran as a conservative independent announced last week that Jolly was joining the board of his Stand Up Republic (SUR) group.
“The future of America depends on defending the democratic norms, ideals and institutions that have sustained our progress for nearly 250 years such as freedom of speech, the press and religion, rule of law and separation of powers,” McMullin said when Jolly and others were named to the board last week.
“While we as a nation hold our leaders accountable to basic constitutional principles, we must also work to address new challenges to our individual and collective prosperity such as technology-driven disruption to the way we work, live and relate to each other,” said Mindy Finn from SUR. Finn worked as a Republican strategist until tapped by McMullin to be his running mate last year.
McMullin and Finn showcased Jolly’s new role in an email sent out on Wednesday.
“We must continue to put country over party and work together — as Americans — to face our looming crises with reason and resolve,” McMullin and Finn wrote. “Quite simply, we cannot enable demagogues who exploit cultural anxieties for their personal political gain.”
In that email, McMullin and Finn also continued to call for a full investigation of Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential race. Despite not being on the ballot in a number of key states, including Florida, McMullin took fifth place in the 2016 election, carrying more than 700,000 votes.
In a swing Tampa Bay district, Jolly won a special election in 2014, beating former state CFO Alex Sink who was the Democratic gubernatorial nominee back in 2010. After redistricting, Jolly’s seat became more favorable to the Democrats and he decided to run for the U.S. Senate in 2016. However, when U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., decided at the last moment to run for a second term, Jolly decided to keep his House seat but lost to Crist in a close contest.
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