On the campaign trail today with David Jolly

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Tonight we learn the voter’s choice — who will be elected in the primary to represent their party for Congressional District 13. This is the same seat held for 43 years by the late Congressman C.W. “Bill” Young. David Jolly supporters say that there’s no one better for the job than Jolly, longtime advisor and former general counsel for Congressman Young. 

Last night Jolly rallied a group of sign wavers on the corner of 49th Street and Ulmerton Road. At 4:30 p.m., at the start of the shift there was a lone man, a retiree, who enthusiastically waved at passersby. He assured me that “reinforcements” would be arriving around 5, and a few did. About a dozen were present later in the evening, and Jolly stood out there until dark. 

“Resources,” are the problem that Jolly cited as his biggest barrier. He was very positive about the commitment from his volunteers and the hard work they have done in the phone banks, but he said that he doesn’t have his opponent Alex Sink’s level of funding, and that has prevented him from hiring a team that would have really boosted his campaign. 

Speaking of Alex Sink, Jolly said, “Whoever is elected will be taking on Goliath, and it’s critical to be prepared.” 

Jolly intended to relax today, spending down time with friends in the community, to reflect on the campaign while preparing for the 2 ½-week race that is ahead, explaining that he is prepared to move quickly if at 7:30 tonight, he becomes the nominee. He said, “This is a great day for Pinellas County,” and that was the source of his reflection. 

His publicity team asked if they could at least post where he was having breakfast and lunch today, and so they did. This morning’s breakfast was rather quiet albeit with a friendly crowd, at The Frog Pond restaurant in Redinton Beach and lunch was a little more lively at the American Legion, Post 273 in Madeira Beach. 

During lunch, I met two friends of Jolly’s. First was David Miller, national hospital representative at Bay Pines VAMC/VISN 8. Miller says that Jolly should be elected because, “he knows Bill Young’s politics and worked alongside him for 20 years.” 

“What better advocate can you have — someone who was superb in working with Bill Young. It’s like putting Bill Young back into office,” said another of Jolly’s supporters and friends, Tony Rizzo, Deputy Representative of the American Legion. Rizzo went on to say that Jolly is his own man, with his own leadership skills and qualifications, but that he believes there would be no one more effective than Jolly who already knows how an effective Congressman works. 

Jolly agreed that his 20 years with Congressman Young would give him an advantage in being effective in Washington D.C.

”We will be replacing the most senior Republican in Congress with the most junior congressperson,” said Jolly. He explained that much will be expected of whomever is elected to this position, and they will be walking in the shadow of a legend.

About fellow candidates, besides being concerned about the funds backing Alex Sink’s campaign, Jolly expressed most concern for Pinellas County residents and about Sink’s lack of commitment and knowledge of Pinellas County. “It’s a display of incredible arrogance coming from Washington D.C. in having Alex Sink move to Pinellas County to run for this Congressional seat. They are basically saying that there is not a single representative in Pinellas County who can represent Pinellas County. It’s insolent.” 

Jolly said, “My opponent wants to win this for Washington, and I want to win this for Pinellas.”