Former Congressman David Jolly hires a Crist staffer, a move toward possible re-match
Former U.S. Rep. David Jolly on Monday took a first step toward an attempted return to Congress by hiring a Charlie Crist advisor, a surprise twist that rekindles their 2016 rivalry.
Vito Sheeley, who had served as Crist’s district director and campaign outreach director, will serve as “senior advisor for the 2018 political cycle,” according to a release shared first with the Tampa Bay Times.
"While I have made no decision whether to pursue elective office in 2018, I am committed to continuing our important policy work of the last three years," Jolly said. He called Sheeley “an honorable man, dedicated to our community, and a trusted advisor on how best to represent and serve Pinellas County and the State of Florida."
Sheeley, 44, said: "I'm extremely excited to begin my new role with Congressman Jolly. Helping the citizens of Pinellas County has been and will remain the most important priority of my life. As Senior Advisor to Mr. Jolly, I look forward to continuing to listen to the needs and concerns of Pinellas County. I thank Congressman Jolly for recognizing my value to him and his team."
Last week the Times had heard that Sheeley was leaving Crist and there was talk he would join St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman’s reelection campaign. “I’m excited at the possibility,” Sheeley said.
We’re seeking comment from Crist.
Max Goodman, a spokesman for Jolly said, "Sheeley will be working with David to continue policy work locally regarding education, veterans, urban affairs and other Pinellas priorities. As Rep. Jolly is neither a candidate or actively exploring a candidacy, Sheeley will be compensated through non-candidate committee funds."
In a statement, Crist said: “I only wish the best for Vito. He did a wonderful job on our campaign, for which I will ever be grateful. I hope for a very bright future for he and his family.”