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Democrats Keep Shooting Themselves in the Foot Over David Jolly

May 28, 2015 - 4:45pm

Democrats continued their comedy of errors against U.S. Rep. David Jolly, R-Fla., on Thursday as an attack against the congressman misfired.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) launched a radio ad on Thursday bashing Jolly for voting for the “Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2015,” which extended funding for the federal Highway Trust Fund for two months instead of seeking a long-term solution.

“With Congressman Jolly’s party in complete control of Congress, it is his responsibility to enact a transportation bill that ensures critical long-term funding for sorely-needed highway construction projects in his district,” said Matt Thornton, a spokesman for the DCCC, on Thursday. “Instead of offering a solution that creates jobs and improves our bridges and roads, House Republicans and Congressman Jolly just kicked the can further down the road, a fact we will be reminding Florida voters of this week.”

“Summer driving season is here,” the narrator of the ad says. “Did you know that the St. Petersburg area has multiple bridges that have been deemed structurally deficient and in need of significant maintenance, rehabilitation or even replacement? The Republican-controlled Congress and Congressman David Jolly had months to find a long-term solution for our nation’s Highway Trust Fund and to ensure critical dollars for repairing and updating our roads and bridges. Jolly and House Republicans failed to find a long-term solution, instead they just kicked the can further down the road. That’s not a real solution for St. Petersburg’s drivers and Republicans’ political games won’t fix our bridges.”

But both the Tampa Bay Times and Saint PetersBlog noted that the bill passed the House with almost 400 votes and that 88 percent of Democrats -- including U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and every Democrat in the Florida delegation -- voted for it alongside Jolly. The only member of the Florida delegation to vote against the bill was tea party favorite U.S. Rep. Curt Clawson, R-Fla.

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) fired back on Thursday. 

“The DCCC brain trust missed the memo that if they are going to pick a fight, it shouldn’t be on a vote supported by 88 percent of Democrats, including the chairman of the DCCC and Nancy Pelosi," said Chris Pack, a spokesman for the NRCC. “With head-scratching decisions like this, it’s no wonder that House Democrats have the fewest number of members since the Great Depression.”

The DCCC’s misfire is just the latest unforced error against Jolly. Despite this being a competitive district, Democrats had problems here last year. Jolly scored a narrow win in a special election early last year over former state CFO Alex Sink for the open seat. The DCCC tried to recruit Sink to run again in the general election, but she said no. Other candidates received some attention from the DCCC but the party was left with no candidate.

The DCCC eventually backed retired Army Col. Ed Jany, although he ran with no party affiliation. Jany had been a registered Republican but moved to the Democrats. But he didn’t switch fast enough because Florida requires candidates to be members of their party for a year before qualifying. Jany quickly dropped out after questions surfaced about inconsistencies in his background, including lying about having a college degree, leaving the DCCC without a candidate in a competitive district.

Eric Lynn, who worked in the Obama administration as an adviser on international and defense issues, threw his name in the hat in early April against Jolly.

Reach Kevin Derby at or follow him on Twitter: @KevinDerbySSN

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