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DCCC pushes total Charlie Crist ad buy to $2M, sending mixed signals in CD 13

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National Democrats are boosting former Gov. Charlie Crist with another $462,000 of TV advertising in the race against incumbent Republican David Jolly for Florida’s 13th Congressional District.

The extra cash – coming from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee –  could result in a “lopsided air war in the Tampa Bay area,” writes Marc Caputo of POLITICO Florida, which could represent either an opportunity for Republicans or a sign of trouble for Democrats.

All told, Crist supporters have reserved $2 million in TV ad time in the race, with only about $310,000 for Jolly.

Part of the problem, Caputo notes, is how Jolly has been at odds with National Republican Congressional Committee, which is, for the most part, staying out of the race. Jolly has been branded a “liar” by the NRCC earlier this year for promoting his controversial “STOP Act” on CBS News’ “60 Minutes” program.

“Jolly’s own party appears to have given up on him and Charlie Crist is in a strong position to win FL-13, but Democrats won’t take anything for granted,” DCCC spokesman Jermaine House told POLITICO. “The voters of Pinellas County know David Jolly’s real record, including the fact that he’s supported overturning Roe v. Wade, raising the retirement age for Social Security, and has voted against increased VA funding.”

Jolly’s campaign is portraying the influx of support as a sign of trouble for Crist, particularly since recent polling has the two of them virtually tied.

“Charlie Crist is in trouble,” said Jolly campaign manager Max Goodman. “The DCCC knows it. Why else would the national committee pull money away from Patrick Murphy to try to save Charlie?”

Crist’s advertising advantage seems to come at the expense of Patrick Murphy in the race to unseat Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.

The DCCC ad time was formerly reserved for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee – to run Oct. 10-17 to support Murphy. As Murphy trails Rubio in recent polling, the DSCC canceled its buy, replaced by the DCCC for Crist.

Democrats are eyeing CD 13 as a good chance for a pickup in the U.S. House, especially since redistricting – and the inclusion of the many African-American voters in South St. Petersburg – made it much more Democratic. Also, as a St. Petersburg native, Crist has near-universal name recognition and a distinct home-field advantage.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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