Attempting to determine who among U.S. Rep. David Jolly‘s rivals started the rumor that he might abandon his bid for the U.S. Senate and seek re-eection to his Pinellas-based congressional seat is as futile as trying to keep up with the plot in the movie “Clue.”
Was it someone in Carlos Lopez-Cantera‘s camp? Or did the rumor originate from Ron DeSantis‘ team?
As far as I can tell it was Rick Wilson. With the Candlestick. In the Library.
Kudos to whomever started the rumor because it made its way on to the front-page of the Tampa Bay Times.
Just as Jolly was enjoying an earned media blitz from his appearance on “60 Minutes” and his debating of Democrat Alan Grayson, his campaign had to answer questions about whether he would drop out of the race.
“Jolly is focused on passing the Stop Act, doing his day job, and winning the U.S. Senate race,” said Jolly spokeswoman Sarah Bascom in a statement.
So you’re saying there’s chance he might run for re-election to the U.S. House? Because that statement does not rule out a House run.
“I would have been on the phone 45 secs after story posted debunking it if it was my candidate,” Democratic operative Eric Jotkoff insisted on Twitter. ” No matter what is happening, rumors of candidate dropping out are too toxic to not address asap.”
Reporters struggle with what to do in situations like this. As POLITICO’s Marc Caputo tweeted last night, “… we’re duty bound to ask, then enough of us ask and it pushes campaigns (sometimes) into reacting.”
“Opponents use us like vectors to try to spread their deception & half truths,” wrote Caputo.
Then again, maybe Jolly wants it this way. In a video released Monday to coincide with his media blitz, Jolly talks about his campaign finance reform proposal known as the “Stop Act,” but he never mentions that he’s running for the U.S. Senate. The ad could work just as easily as a candidate for the U.S. House.
So who started the rumor about Jolly running for re-election?
Maybe it was David Jolly. With the Rope. In the Conservatory.