Florida Congressman David Jolly attacked the Conservative wing of the GOP in a recent interview that highlights Jolly’s desperation as his campaign to replace Marco Rubio in the Senate continues to struggle.
According to The National Journal:
“We have to insist on an honest conversation on what it means to be conservative,” said Jolly. “I’m running against the weak-kneed fake conservatives who … failed to accept the responsibility to govern.”
Jolly was referring to last week’s intra-GOP conflict over a new government-spending bill, a vote that put him and Rep. Ron DeSantis, perhaps his main primary opponent, on opposite sides. Jolly voted in favor of the bill, which would keep the government open for a limited time, while DeSantis sided with House conservatives, who sought to use the vote to keep the Federal government from continuing to fund Planned Parenthood.”
Taylor Budowich is the Executive Director of the Tea Party Express. He was disappointed by Jolly’s comments.
“It’s unfortunate Jolly feels the need to name-call,” Budowich said. “Voters deserve a lot better than that.”
Budowich says that anti Tea Party sentiment like Jolly’s is nothing new for the movement that begin 6 years ago.
“It’s a problem we have faced in every election the Tea Party has been involved with since 2010,” Budowich said.
Budowich notes Republicans win when they paint in bold colors and not pale pastels, as Reagan was known to say.
“Tea Party candidates win because they successfully contrast themselves with the big government policies of the Dems, and even in Republican primaries” Budowich said. “Republicans who run as ‘Dem Light’ lose time and time again.”
Budowich points to Senator Marco Rubio’s insurgent 2010 campaign as an example.
“Marco Rubio didn’t say, ‘well we’re gonna cut spending if President Obama feels like it,'” Budowich said. “He said, ‘no, we’re gonna cut spending no matter what anyone says.'”
Budowich also points to success after Ted Cruz was critical to orchestrating a government shutdown over Obamacare in the fall of 2013.
“The 2013 shutdown was supposed to ruin Republicans,” Budowich said. “But the facts just don’t support that narrative. Every single Republican Senator who won a seat in 2014 supported the government shutdown and opposed funding Obamacare.”
It’s that type of leadership from what Jolly would call “fake Conservatives” that Budowich says voters are looking for.
“It’s time to turn rhetoric into action,” Budowich said. “Voters are looking for conservative Republicans who approach fiscal issues with principles and are ready to get the job done.”
The National Journal notes Jolly ran for Senate after redistricting posed problems for the new Congressman.
“The 41-year old Republican is only a year and a half removed from his first run for elected office, a special House election that drew national attention and heavy interest-group spending to Jolly’s ever-so-slightly Democratic-tilting district. (President Obama carried it twice.) But Jolly has already become a victim of redistricting, thanks to litigation that forced a mid-decade redraw of Florida’s congressional lines and is set to make his district significantly more Democratic. Left with little hope of retaining the seat that once belonged to his boss, former Rep. Bill Young, Jolly immediately began making preparations for a Senate bid.”
According to Public Policy Polling, Jolly has been unable to break from the rest of the pack and finds himself in a dead heat.
“On the GOP side none of the 3 major hopefuls who have declared their candidacies so far have even 40% name recognition. David Jolly and Ron DeSantis each have 37% name recognition, and for Carlos Lopez-Cantera it’s even lower at 31%. 52% of voters say they’re undecided about who they’d want their candidate to be given those choices, with Jolly at 18%, DeSantis at 15%, and Lopez-Cantera at 14%. It’s going to be a while before this race really develops and there’s definitely still room in the field for others to join.”
Jolly may indeed face a new, highly popular opponent according to the National Journal.
“Recently, another potential GOP candidate with a potentially similar message may have made Jolly’s path harder. Florida CFO Jeff Atwater, who was once considered Republicans’ Senate frontrunner before surprisingly deciding not to run this summer, mentioned that he might still be interested in running. Atwater has already won two statewide elections in Florida, and his base and Jolly’s overlap.
Jolly remained resolute. “I believe we will continue to run this race at the front of the pack and I don’t believe it makes a difference whether Jeff Atwater gets in or not,” said Jolly, who had at one point been poised to support Atwater’s bid. “Whatever Jeff decides to do plays no factor in my decision.”
Budowich says he’s “not sure” if Atwater will jump in.
His group, Tea Party Express, has endorsed Rep. Ron DeSantis.
“Complacency with the status quo is one of the most dangerous diseases in Washington, D.C., but it’s a disease the Tea Party activists throughout America would like to cure,” Budowich said in a press release earlier this year. “That’s why we worked aggressively in 2012 to help elect Ron DeSantis, and it’s why we remain committed to him in 2016 for his U.S. Senate campaign.”
Budowich says DeSantis has a history of showing conservative leadership.
“After being elected in 2012, Congressman DeSantis went to D.C. and led the charge in bucking the status quo with a positive, conservative agenda for reform,” Budowich said. “He is a hero to Florida’s taxpayers, being ranked number one by Citizens Against Government Waste. He has also been a leader in the fight to rein in the size, cost and intrusiveness of the federal government.”
Budowich concluded by saying he looks forward to DeSantis in the Senate:
“Congressman DeSantis has applied his conservative values to each vote, just like he promised the voters he would. But more important than just his single vote, he has been a champion for conservatism. He has challenged the do-nothing politicians head-on with bold, conservative ideas. While his voice has been important in the House of Representatives, we are excited by the idea of having him represent the entire state of Florida in the U.S. Senate. We intend on doing everything we can to make sure that’s a reality come November of 2016!”