U.S. Rep. David Jolly, outgunned financially and facing a powerful opponent in former Gov. Charlie Crist, appears to have doubled down on his maverick image in an inaugural ad that debuted Thursday on YouTube.
The spot with Jolly outlining his campaign pitch to his Doberman pup, Huck, will start running in Tampa Bay markets Friday.
The 13th Congressional District race promises to be one of the most watched nationally. Crist has attempted to tie Jolly to GOP nominee Donald Trump. Jolly has countered by detailing Crist's long history with Trump as a Republican lawmaker.
The Trump spat moved onto Zika this week as Jolly took to the House floor, a jar of Zika-laden mosquite larvae in hand.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee immediately pounced, characterizing Jolly's actions as a stunt,
"He had the gall to carry a jar of mosquito larvae on the House Floor to underscore the urgency of the Zika crisis," said DCCC spokesman, Jermaine House.
The DCCC isn't Jolly's only problem. The Republican equivalent, the National Republican Congressional Committee, isn't too fond of Jolly, first elected with their support in 2014 in a special election over Alex Sink. Jolly's Stop Act legislation, which would prohibit members of Congress from personally soliciting campaign donations, was the final straw. The NRCC, although it congratulated Jolly on his Aug. 30 primary victory over Mark Bircher, hasn't committed any support against Crist.
To that end, Jolly's ad is the classic underdog, outsider pitch, referencing a Democratic president famous for comeback victories, Harry Truman, who once counseled politicians to get a dog if they want a friend in Washington, D.C..
Jolly appears to be making a pitch for independent voters in the newly-drawn district which now has about 17,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans after chunks of south Pinellas were added and GOP-leaning North Pinellas sections removed.