David Jolly poised to drop out of Senate race today
After weeks for speculation, U.S. Rep. David Jolly is poised to announce today that he will run for re-election instead of remaining in the race for the U.S. Senate.
Jolly, a Republican from Indian Shores, is scheduled to meet with the media at noon at Clearwater Aviation to talk about his political future.
In July 2015, Jolly jumped into the U.S. Senate race after U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio announced he would not seek re-election and instead run for president. Four other Republicans are also running in the race to replace Rubio, but none have surged to the forefront causing national Republicans to become increasingly worried that none can win in November. That has had Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and others publicly calling on Rubio to run again for the Senate, even though he has repeatedly shot down rumors he would do so.
But this week, Rubio told reporters he is considering it after telling a national radio talk show host that the tragedy in Orlando had given him pause to think about how he could serve the nation. Rubio has to decide by June 24, the deadline to enter the race, the deadline to qualify to get on the ballot.
Jolly has said for two weeks he expects Rubio to run for re-election now, and he has no interest in running against him.
“I think all signs are pointing to him running,” Jolly said in an interview with the Times/Herald two weeks ago.
Jolly has said Rubio would be the best candidate for Republicans to retain the seat in November against either U.S. Reps. Patrick Murphy or Alan Grayson - the two Democrats seeking the post.
Pinellas County Republicans have been pushing Jolly for months to run for re-election to the 13th Congressional District, which former Gov. Charlie Crist, a Democrat, is running to represent.
Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis have both said they do not intend to run against Rubio if he gets back into the Senate race. But real estate developer Carlos Beruff and Orlando businessman Todd Wilcox have both already filed papers to run and have said they are prepared to take on Rubio.