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David Jolly hails Chavista defeat in Venezuelan elections

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Voters may have rebuked Venezuela’s ruling United Social Party in elections Sunday, but Congressman David Jolly calls it a “victory for democracy.”

In a statement Monday, the Indian Shores Republican hailed the victory of the Democratic Unity Roundtable opposition party, which over the weekend defeated the long-ruling party of former President Hugo Chávez in the National Assembly.

“Last night, socialism took a back seat to democracy,” said Jolly, who is in a hotly contested Republican primary to fill Marco Rubio‘s soon-to-be-vacant Senate seat.

“The Venezuelan people displayed incredible courage and conviction to rise up against a socialist dictatorship that has suffocated the free will of its people for too long,” Jolly said. “The future is now bright for our South American neighbor.”

The United Social Party, heavily inflected by the platform and personality of Chavez, had been in power for more than 17 consecutive years.

The Jolly campaign missive cited a recent poll conducted by the Pew Research Center showing 85 percent of Venezuelans were dissatisfied with the direction the country was taking.

The new National Assembly assumes power in January.

Jolly is running against fellow U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, and businessman Todd Wilcox in the GOP primary set to be held in August.

U.S. Reps. Alan Grayson and Patrick Murphy are duking it out in an equally contentious Democratic primary.

Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at

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