PINELLAS — U.S. Rep. David Jolly and former Gov. Charlie Crist have the same strategy in the race for the 13th Congressional District: link his opponent to Donald Trump.
Crist issued a statement after winning the Democratic primary last week, turning his attention to the matchup against Jolly.
"This Republican primary season has been pretty frightening," Crist said. "It saddens me to think that anyone who supports Donald Trump's agenda could ever represent Pinellas County."
Jolly hasn't endorsed Trump and said he would probably decide in November if he could vote for the Republican presidential nominee. Jolly urged Trump to quit the race after the nominee called for America to stop allowing Muslims into the country.
Jolly fired back against Crist's claims Monday, detailing connections the Crist has had with Trump that span 18 years, including fundraising events at Trump Tower and tournaments at Trump International Golf Course in West Palm Beach.
"For someone like Charlie Crist to try to tie me to Donald Trump … is the height of hypocrisy," Jolly said.
Crist met Trump in 1998 at a South Florida charity event. Trump has since hosted fundraising events for Crist (a former Republican) and donated to his campaigns.
Crist could not be reached for comment Monday, but his campaign released a statement that said, in part, "Only one candidate in this race recently said he 'has a lot of respect' for Donald Trump … and that's David Jolly."
"This is typical Charlie," Jolly said. "In his very first statement of the general election campaign, he hides his own past with Trump and lies about mine."