Charlie Crist has defeated David Jolly in Florida’s 13th Congressional District by four percentage points, 52 percent to 48 percent.
The Associated Press called the race with 239 precincts out of 241 reporting.
His victory will be framed as his political comeback, following two rough losses statewide for U.S. Senate in 2010 and governor in 2014.
Crist originally did not intend to run against Jolly in the CD 13 seat, but after the district’s lines were redrawn in 2015, Crist opted to get into the race. It didn’t hurt that the new district was much more favorable to a Democratic candidate.
For Jolly, it ends a very eventful 20 months in office.
When redistricting did occur last year, he opted to run for the then-open U.S. Senate seat Marco Rubio said he would be leaving to run for president. But Rubio reversed course in June, weeks after he dropped out of presidential contest.
The race became vitriolic between the two men from the jump. When Crist declared his candidacy in the fall of 2015, Jolly somewhat uncharacteristically crashed his press event, blasting him at the time.
Tensions escalated after the Democratic Campaign Congressional Committee began airing a television ad featuring a photoshopped picture of Jolly with Donald Trump. In fact, Jolly has denounced Trump’s candidacy, and he called for local stations and the DCCC to stop airing the ad.
But the ad continued to air for several weeks until Crist ordered it to come down, after a stern editorial written by the Tampa Bay Times called on him to do so.
“Congratulations to Charlie Crist on becoming the next representative for Florida’s 13th Congressional District,” House Majority PAC Executive Director Alixandria Lapp said in a statement. “FL-13 voters have rejected David Jolly’s backwards agenda and chosen a representative who will make their voices heard in Washington. House Majority PAC is proud to have played a role in ensuring Charlie Crist will be able to do great work in Congress.”
HMP aired two TV ads on broadcast, cable, and digital platforms in the Tampa Bay media market, becoming the first outside group to spend on TV in the race.
Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, a potential 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidate, congratulated Crist on his victory. “His community and our state will be well represented by Charlie and our delegation will be stronger because of his victory tonight,” he said.