The Pinellas County Republican has been an activism-oriented congressman since winning the special election to succeed the late U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young .
Called “the most underestimated man in America” by GOP consultant Chris Ingram regarding public perception of him going into last year’s special election, the 42-year-old lawmaker has demonstrated quickly since being elected how seriously he takes his positions. He recently proposed a bill that had no chance of passage, yet amply demonstrated his priorities.
That legislation: a proposal that would mandate that the House be in session every Monday morning at 8 a.m. to Friday at 6 p.m.
He ran a hard-right campaign a year ago to capture the seat in 2014 but has shown himself to be much more moderate in office, though still plenty conservative. He’s been critical of President Obama’s foreign policy and his executive actions on immigration but also voted in the new Congress against a restrictive abortion bill — not to mention his support for same-sex marriage, which outraged some conservative activists.
As a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, Jolly co-sponsored and fought for passage of the recently enacted emergency veterans’ health care reform legislation.
For years, Democrats in Washington considered the CD-13 seat a potentially ripe seat to flip parties whenever Young decided to step down from power. When he passed away in the fall of 2013, Democrats had their best shot in decades but came up short, in large part owing to a vigorous Jolly campaign.
As a swing congressional district, national Democrats will continue to put resources into trying to win it in 2016, but Jolly’s comportment so far shows that it may be difficult to oust him anytime soon.
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