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David Jolly Announces Run for U.S. Senate

Congressman David Jolly, who represents  Pinellas County's District 13, announced Monday he's running to fill the seat being vacated by Marco Rubio in the U.S. Senate. Jolly says he'll make a formal announcement Monday night at 7 at the Republican Club of Greater Largo, at Alfano’s Restaurant in Clearwater.

“I have been blessed with the opportunity to represent the people of Pinellas County in the U.S. House, taking their voice to Washington, D.C., and delivering results for our neighbors and community,” Jolly said in a prepared statement.  “I am proud of what we have accomplished together, and I am confident that the best is yet to come for our region and our state.  It is with this sincere belief and focus on the future of Pinellas County and the entire State of Florida that I proudly announce my candidacy for the United States Senate.

“Over the next year, I intend to run for the United States Senate on an unwavering platform that will reject the politics of division and class warfare that have defined the current Administration, reject the failed foreign policies that have projected only weakness and apology on the world stage, and embrace a new economy founded on the principle that individuals and families, not government bureaucrats, create success.  I will stand up everyday for the American people and say once and for all that you should be allowed to determine your own future, practice your own faith and pursue the American dream – and that includes making your own health care coverage decisions,” he said.

Jolly was a general counsel for longtime Congressman C.W. Bill Young, when Young died while in office. He won the race for Young's seat as the Republican candidate in a 2014 special election against Democrat Alex Sink and Libertarian Lucas Overby. Later that year, he sounded defeated Democrat Alex Sink, who had served as the state's Chief Financial Officer, in the general election.

Jolly is a native of Dunedin and his Bachelor of Arts in History from Emory University in Atlanta, and earned a law degree from George Mason University School of Law. He married earlier this month, and resides in Indian Shores with his wife, Laura.

He joins a Republican field that so far includes Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera of Miami and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis of northeast Florida. Democrats in the race currently include Congressmen Alan Grayson of the Orlando area and Patrick Murphy of South Florida.

They're all vying to succeed Rubio, who is running for president and says he will not seek re-election.

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
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