Republican Congressman David Jolly challenges Charlie Crist in St. Petersburg's Democratic strongholds
ST. PETERSBURG — David Jolly has represented the 13th Congressional District since 2014. But the incumbent Republican has never represented large portions of southern Pinellas County, which were recently brought into the district after a court-ordered redrawing of the lines last year.
Those voters were represented by Tampa Democrat Kathy Castor. But now they’re part of the new 13th District.
Neighborhoods like Midtown and Childs Park, traditionally Democratic and predominantly black, have become an unexpected battleground between Jolly and his Democratic opponent, former governor Charlie Crist.
Jolly has sought to cut into what are expected to be large voting margins favoring Crist by making frequent forays into St. Petersburg's southern neighborhoods.
For his part, Crist has made plenty of campaign appearances in Clearwater, where large numbers of the district's Republican voters live.
Over the weekend, Jolly campaign workers hung placards reminding residents that Crist had once championed "chain gangs" for prison inmates.
Also on Saturday, Crist skipped an NAACP debate in Midtown. Jolly showed up. Chapter president Maria Scruggs criticized Crist, saying she thought he was taking black votes for granted.
Here’s a video from Sunshine State News of Scruggs chastising the former governor.
The Crist campaign declined comment.