Senate races

First Rubio aftershock: Jolly ends Senate campaign, seeks reelection to House

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Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.) is ending his campaign for the Senate amid growing certainty that the incumbent, Marco Rubio, will reverse course and run for reelection.

Jolly is expected to make a formal announcement later on Friday.

On Friday morning, he said on CNN that Rubio is “saying he’s getting in” the Senate race. 

Jolly said earlier this week he didn’t want to be subjected “to the whims” of Rubio’s final decision. 

“I think ultimately he decides to get in. Clearly the orchestration by Republican leadership on the other side of the aisle has shown their hand as well, and I think ultimately he accepts their recruiting effort to get back in,” Jolly said.

Jolly was recently ripped by the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC) for claiming they told him to raise the equivalent of $18,000 per day to win reelection. 

The NRCC denied those claims, calling it an attention-seeking stunt to boost his “lagging” Senate campaign, noting it spent more than $2 million to help Jolly in his first race for the House two years ago. 

Jolly’s comments appeared in a hidden camera report aired by “60 Minutes” in April. 

Former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker told the Tampa Bay Times on Friday that Jolly would end his Senate bid.

“David Jolly’s passion is to serve the people of Pinellas,” Baker said, referring to the district Jolly currently represents.

Last year Jolly announced he would run for Rubio’s Senate seat after Rubio said he would run for president instead of seeking reelection.

But following a mass shooting in Orlando last weekend, Rubio said he would reconsider. GOP leaders have also privately and publicly urged Rubio to run.

He has until June 24, the filing deadline to enter the race, to make a decision. 

Jolly’s exit still leaves four Republicans vying for the seat. Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), businessman Todd Wilcox and real estate developer Carlos Beruff have declared their candidacies. 

Lopez-Cantera, however, has said he is willing to step aside if Rubio decides to run for reelection. 

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