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Here’s what local media says about David Jolly’s Senate announcement

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Monday is shaping up to be David Jolly day as news of his announced U.S. Senate bid makes its way through media outlets. The current U.S. Representative will not seek another term in Congress and will instead run to replace incumbent Marco Rubio who is vacating his post to run for President.

Media organizations across the Tampa Bay area are jumping on the news with in-depth coverage of Jolly’s announcements. All outlets are quick to point out the fortuitous situation that led to Jolly’s decision. When the Florida Supreme Court ruled this month that Jolly’s congressional district had to be re-drawn. The new district boundaries are expected to include thousands of Democratic voters in South St. Petersburg and make the seat far more challenging for Jolly to hold.

The Tampa Bay Times called Jolly’s decision to run for Senate “much more logical” because of the impending redistricting. The Tampa Tribune called the decision on the heels of the Florida Supreme Court decision “widely expected” and SaintPetersblog’s own coverage called any hesitation remaining to run for the Senate a “moot point.”

Local media outlets also attribute Jolly’s decision to Florida CFO Jeff Atwater bowing out of the race before he ever even officially bowed in.

But it’s the nuanced critique, analysis and individual highlights that make well-rounded media coverage so important in the breaking news. For example, the Times and the Tribune are sticking to pretty straightforward coverage, for now.

The Times points to Jolly’s ability to be moderate among his GOP ranks citing both Jolly’s support for same-sex marriage and a vote against a GOP plan that would have called for “dramatic changes to Medicare.”

The Tribune’s coverage also shoots straight, but builds on news from the Times with a list of Jolly’s various committee assignments including the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee and the House Veteran’s Affairs Committee, among others.

In FloridaPolitics reporter Mitch Perry’s coverage of the announcement, he begs the question, “which Jolly shows up to run?” Will it be the Jolly who aptly appealed to his conservative base while running for his seat in Congress the first go-round or will voters see the more moderate Jolly not afraid to go against his own party?

It’s a question that will likely be answered in the coming months as Jolly gets into the campaign swing. He’s already facing a field of GOP Primary challengers including Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Jacksonville U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis and retired CIA contractor Todd Wilcox.

For other interesting coverage of Jolly’s announcement, flip on over to WTSP where they talk about the historical significance of Jolly’s Senate bid. It’s “possibly giving the Bay Area its biggest voice ever in Washington,” a News Channel 10 story points out.

That’s because in Florida’s 170-year history as a state, there has never been Senate representation from the area. The television news organization also points to the magnitude of Jolly’s new endeavor. As it stands now, he is one of 435 members of Congress. In the Senate he would stand with just 99 others.

A Florida Politics poll shows Jolly leading the GOP pack by 10 points.

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Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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