Florida representative David Jolly, per Politico’s Marc Caputo, is considering exiting the Florida Senate race and instead running for reelection to the House. Speaking to National Review on the subject Wednesday, Jolly says it’s not a decision he’s made yet, but he seems to salivate at the prospect of taking on the Democrat seeking his seat: “Boy,” he says, “would it be fun to run against Charlie Crist.”
Jolly won his seat in a highly competitive 2014 special election, but Florida’s 13th congressional district looks significantly different now, after redistricting turned it from a battleground swing district to a Democratic leaning district. Crist, the former Republican governor turned independent Senate candidate turned Democratic gubernatorial candidate, has filed to run in the district as a Democrat. Crist handily won the district as it is now drawn in his 2014 gubernatorial bid, despite losing statewide to Rick Scott.
On Wednesday, at House votes, I asked Jolly about his thoughts on pulling a switch in the final two weeks before the filing deadline. He says — as he has said before — that he would exit the Senate race should Marco Rubio change his mind and decide to run for reelection. But for now, he says, “Nothing’s changed. I’m in the Senate race.”
As for whether he’d run for reelection if Rubio did seek reelection, Jolly says:
I don’t know. Those are two different decisions. My wife and I will decide about the Senate race here in the next week, and I expect we’ll hear from Rubio. And the House race will be a separate decision. It went from pure tossup that Obama had already one twice that I won twice, to a district that Obama won by twelve and Charlie Crist beat Rick Scott by 15. So it will be one of the more significant challenges on our side of the aisle to win a district like that. I do think we would fare fairly well, and boy would it be fun to run against Charlie Crist. We’ll see, we’re not there yet.
Jolly’s relationship with the National Republican Congressional Committee, charged with electing Republicans to the House, was publicly strained after a 60 Minutes piece on his STOP Act, which would ban members of congress from directly fundraising for their campaigns. Asked whether he would be likely to get any help if he did run for Senate, Jolly shrugged. “Oh I don’t know,” he said. “I think cooler heads always prevail.”