State Watch

Ex-GOP lawmaker: I voted for Gillum over DeSantis in Florida

Former GOP Rep. David Jolly (Fla.) is one of a number of Republicans voting for Democrat Andrew Gillum over GOP candidate Ron DeSantis in the Florida gubernatorial election, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Jolly told the newspaper Republicans he knows are voting for Gillum in defiance of President Trump. 

Former Rep. DeSantis has tied himself closely to the president, who has strongly endorsed the candidate. 

"I've spoken to Republican voters who under-voted in the 2016 presidential race because they couldn't bring themselves to vote for Hillary Clinton," he said.

"But this go-round, they're bringing themselves to vote for Andrew Gillum. There's a break-it-so-it-can-be-rebuilt element. I also really think it's just a plain rejection of all things Donald Trump and his surrogates."

"I've turned in my ballot. I voted for Andrew Gillum" Jolly continued. "The reason is simple: it's because I've served with Ron DeSantis."

Jolly later clarified to The Hill that he had meant he opposed DeSantis' partisanship during his tenure in Congress.

"He put ideology above governing, intra-party battles ahead of legislative solutions, and his Freedom Caucus club ahead of the people of Florida. I don't see that changing if he is elected Governor," he told The Hill.

Jolly left the Republican Party and re-registered as having no party affiliation earlier in October.

He explained his and his wife's decision to the Tampa Bay Times as "a personal rejection of partisanship. It's a very comfortable place for us to be."

The Florida gubernatorial race is virtually tied ahead of next week's election, with the most recent poll giving Gillum a 45 percent to 44 percent lead among likely voters.

The RealClearPolitics average has Gillum up 3 points, but has not yet incorporated Wednesday's Suffolk University Poll.

-- Updated on Nov. 1 at 12:30 p.m.