Make us your home page

The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

By taking on Donald Trump, David Jolly rises above his Senate rivals

U.S. Rep. David Jolly, left, is campaigning for a U.S. Senate seat; at right is candidate for the Republican presidential nomination Donald Trump.

Times wires

U.S. Rep. David Jolly, left, is campaigning for a U.S. Senate seat; at right is candidate for the Republican presidential nomination Donald Trump.



It's entirely unclear whether Republican U.S. Rep. David Jolly helped his campaign for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination by blasting Donald Trump and calling him to quit the race or not. He is, after all, running in a wide open Republican primary and recent national polls show that a majority of Republicans favor Trump's call for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States. The Republican whom Jolly's team views as his main rival, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, has been conspicuously silent on the proposal, while Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera has been cautious about expressing disagreement.

But Jolly has done something no one in that senate primary has managed to date: Be interesting. 

That's why he landed on national TV again today, because --- much like Donald Trump -- Jolly chose not to play it safe. He took a strong and politically risky position in attacking Trump's proposal on Muslims.

It might hurt the Pinellas Republican in the long run, and it certainly would be awkward if Trump and Jolly are leading the Florida Republican ticket next fall. But right now Jolly appears not only to be of the country's most articulate Republican critics of Trump, but also a Republican abiding by one of the main lessons of Trump's success: Voters are sick of chronically cautious and predictable politicians.

If you trust online polls (which we rarely even report), a St. Leo University poll released this week found 57 percent of likely Republicans were unsure who to support in the primary. Jolly's campaign, oddly enough, released a press release touting that online poll, which showed him with less than 12 percent support and well within the margin of error ahead of Lopez-Cantera with 8 percent support.

None of these guys is exciting anybody so far, but Jolly this week at least got noticed. 

UPDATE: Jolly has a new fundraising email that echoes my theme (And no, I did not know that would be part of their message)

Dear Friend:

Donald Trump and I agree.  Trump and I each speak out honestly and with conviction, we don’t worry about the political consequence, and we call it like we see it.

We just see things differently.

And it’s clear from the calls of encouragement from across the country this week that the American people appreciate bold leadership, they want change, and they want action.

I do too.  I want us to implement a successful national security strategy that protects our homeland.  I believe we can do so by abandoning the President’s failed strategies and immediately do four things:

Take the fight to ISIS overseas with our elite Special Forces in a Coalition of the U.S., Western Europe, our Arab allies, and Russia.  Destroy ISIS on their soil, not ours.

Demand operational control of our borders, north, south, east and west, to prevent illegal entry.

Strengthen the vetting process for anyone who wishes to come here legally, for those seeking to naturalize, to those entering on visas, to those seeking resettlement under our refugee program .

Improve and increase human and electronic surveillance of known homegrown terror suspects in the United States today.

If the President will agree to abandon the failed policies of the past and instead pursue this new aggressive strategy the American people are demanding, we will secure our nation.  And we will do so while honoring the very fundamental freedom of religion that is at the foundation of what has made America great.

The great insecurity we each have today is a result of the deficit of trust between the American people and this Administration.  Let’s continue to speak up together.  Let’s demand we do things differently.  Let’s win.

With much respect,


[Last modified: Thursday, December 10, 2015 2:34pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours