One of the biggest names in Pinellas County GOP politics endorsed David Jolly today in his bid to replace the late U.S. Rep. Bill Young in Florida’s 13th Congressional District.
State Sen. Jack Latvala joined a group of local small business leaders at the Largo headquarters of manufacturer SmartSat Inc. Wednesday to throw his support behind Jolly as he faces former Democratic Florida CFO Alex Sink and Libertarian Lucas Overby.
Latvala’s support of Jolly represents a change of heart for the Clearwater Republican, who initially supported fellow lawmaker state Representative Kathleen Peters in the GOP primary.
“We don’t need a D.C. lobbyist in Congress,” Latvala said at the time, establishing the dominant issue for both Jolly’s GOP detractors and Democrats throughout the entire campaign. Peters ultimately lost to Jolly in the GOP primary.
Wednesday’s press conference represents further tightening of the GOP ranks around Jolly. Peters had already announced her support for Bill Young’s former General Counsel.
As of Tuesday, 84,487 mail-in ballots have been returned to the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections offices, showing a slim 2-point GOP lead — with 42 percent (35,308) Republican, 40 percent (33,378) Democratic and 19 percent (15,801) No Party Affiliation/Other. The general election is March 11.