David Jolly

David Jolly
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 13th district
Assumed office
March 11, 2014
Preceded by Bill Young
Succeeded by Charlie Crist (elect)
Personal details
Born David Wilson Jolly
(1972-10-31) October 31, 1972
Dunedin, Florida, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Carrie Jolly (1999–2014)
Laura Donahoe (2015–present)
Alma mater Emory University
George Mason University
Religion Baptist
Website House website

David Wilson Jolly (born October 31, 1972) is an American attorney, former lobbyist, and the U.S. Representative for Florida's 13th congressional district. A Republican, he previously served as general counsel to his predecessor, U.S. Rep. Bill Young.[1] He won the race for Young's seat in a 2014 special election against Democrat Alex Sink and Libertarian Lucas Overby.[2] He was subsequently re-elected in November 2014, winning 75 percent of the vote.[3]

Early life

Jolly was born in Dunedin, Florida.[1] He graduated from Emory University in 1994 and earned his law degree from the George Mason University School of Law in 2001.[4]


He worked for U.S. Representative Bill Young full-time from 1995 to 2006 in various positions, with a brief break for six months in 2001 when he worked at a Washington securities firm. In 2002, Jolly became Young's general counsel and held that position until he left in 2006.[5] He served as the personal attorney for Young's family as well.[6]

In 2007, Jolly joined Washington, D.C. firm Van Scoyoc Associates as a lobbyist and in 2011, he left Van Scoyoc to open his own firm, Three Bridges Advisors. He made political donations to both Republicans (about $36,000) and Democrats (about $30,000) during his time as a lobbyist.[5][7] Jolly had his name removed from the Lobby Registry to run for the vacant House seat.[5]

As of January 2014, he still worked as a lobbyist but his main job was as a vice president of the Clearwater-based investment company Boston Finance Group.[6]

Jolly and his first wife bought a condo in Indian Shores, Florida, in 2005 and a house in Washington, D.C. in 2007.[6] His divorce from his wife Carrie was finalized on January 16, 2014, and Jolly married Laura Donahoe on July 3, 2015.[8]

Political career

Jolly opposes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.[9] He is pro-life.[10] Speaking about firearms policy, Jolly said: "I do believe the Second Amendment is a fundamental right, but I don't believe it's beyond the reach of regulation, and I believe it's appropriate to look at regulations that ultimately keep the guns out of the hands of criminals."[11] He supports the Balanced Budget Amendment,[12] and says he would have voted to raise the debt limit in early 2014.[13]

Jolly supports sending special operations forces overseas, securing the border, increasing the vetting process for legal immigrants, and increasing surveillance of suspected domestic terrorists.[14] In February 2014, Jolly introduced the Naval Station Guantanamo Bay Protection Act.[15]

Jolly pushed to extend the ban on oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.[16] In January 2015, Jolly announced plans to introduce a bill that would extend the reforms of the federal flood insurance program.[17] In July 2015, Jolly introduced the Veterans Health Care Freedom Act.[18] Jolly encouraged the U.S. House to extend the Treasure Island beach re-nourishment project.[19]

On July 21, 2014, Jolly announced his support for the legality of same-sex marriage, stating: "I believe in a form of limited government that protects personal liberty. To me, that means that the sanctity of one’s marriage should be defined by their faith and by their church, not by their state." He said "As a matter of my Christian faith, I believe in traditional marriage."[20]

On August 29, 2015, Jolly attended a concert as "guest of honor" and a fundraiser as a "special guest" that were hosted by the Church of Scientology, which is based inside his congressional district in Clearwater, Florida.[21][22][23] Jolly is a Southern Baptist.[24][25]

In April 2016, Jolly's United States Senate campaign spokesperson Sarah Bascom confirmed that the campaign had made edits to his Wikipedia page to remove information about Jolly, including references to the Church of Scientology and his lobbying activities, alleging that it presented a "public negative narrative" against him, and accused an unnamed rival campaign of adding "propaganda" to the article.[26][27] Jolly called it "a careless staff mistake" and said that he stands by his record and wants the public to be fully informed.[28][29]


Committee assignments


2014 special election

On January 14, 2014, Jolly won the Republican nomination over Mark Bircher and Kathleen Peters, winning a plurality of 45% of the vote.[30] Jolly faced Democratic nominee Alex Sink and a libertarian candidate, Lucas Overby, in the special election. The race received national attention as possibly forecasting the mid-term elections that were coming in November of that year and became the most expensive Congressional race in history, with around $11M spent, $9M of it by outside groups.[2] During the campaign there was friction between the National Republican Congressional Committee and Jolly; the RNC thought Jolly's campaign was inept, and Jolly criticized the negative ads run by the RNC.[31] and voters were generally unhappy with the overwhelming number of attack ads on both sides.[2]

Jolly won the election on March 11, 2014 with 48.4% of the vote after being behind in the early tallies; he was sworn into office on March 13.[32]

2014 general election

Jolly ran for reelection to his first full term in November 2014. He was unopposed in the Republican primary, and no Democrat ran against him in the general election; his only challenger was Lucas Overby, the Libertarian nominee who came in third in the special election one year prior. Jolly defeated Overby with 75% of the vote.[33]

2016 U.S. Senate election

On July 20, 2015, Jolly announced that he was giving up his seat to run for the United States Senate seat being vacated by Marco Rubio, who was not running for reelection due to his bid for the U.S. presidency.[34] As of August 2015, it appeared that Jolly would face several opponents in the August 30, 2016 Republican primary election, including U.S. Representative Ron DeSantis and Lieutenant Governor of Florida Carlos López-Cantera.[35] However, on June 17, 2016, he withdrew from the Senate race to run for re-election to the House, citing "unfinished business."[36]

2016 general election

In his bid for a second full term, Jolly faced former Florida governor Charlie Crist, a St. Petersburg resident. He found himself in a district that had been made significantly more Democratic after a court threw out Florida's original congressional map. Notably, it absorbed a heavily Democratic portion of southern Pinellas County. It now included almost all of St. Petersburg.[37] Previously, some of the more Democratic portions of St. Petersburg had been in the Tampa-based 14th District.

Ultimately, Jolly lost to Crist by 51.9% to 48.1%.[38] Jolly's defeat ended a 62-year hold on this St. Petersburg-based district by the GOP. William Cramer won the seat for the Republicans in 1954,[39] handing it to Young in 1970.[40] The district had changed numbers seven times during this period, from the 1st (1955-1963) to the 12th (1963-1967) to the 8th (1967-1973, 1983-1993) to the 6th (1973-1983) to the 10th (1993-2013) to the 13th (2013-present).

Electoral history

Republican primary results[30]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican David Jolly 20,435 44.60
Republican Kathleen Peters 14,172 30.94
Republican Mark Bircher 11,203 24.46
Total votes 45,810 100
Florida's 13th Congressional District special election, 2014 [41]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican David Jolly 89,099 48.43
Democratic Alex Sink 85,642 46.55
Libertarian Lucas Overby 8,893 4.83
N/A Write-ins 328 0.18
Total votes 183,962 100
Republican hold
Florida's 13th Congressional District election, 2014[42]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican David Jolly 168,172 75.22
Libertarian Lucas Overby 55,318 24.74
Write-in Michael Stephen Levinson 86 .04
Total votes 223,576 100.00
Republican hold


  1. 1 2 "Rick Baker won't run for Young's seat, but David Jolly will". Tampa Bay Times. November 2, 2013. Retrieved November 2, 2013.
  2. 1 2 3 Bradshaw, Kate (March 11, 2014). "David Jolly takes District 13 election". St. Petersburg Tribune. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
  3. "Florida Election Results". elections.nytimes.com. Retrieved March 15, 2016.
  4. US Congress Jolly, David W., (1972 - ) Page accessed April 6, 2016
  5. 1 2 3 "David Jolly gave 'almost $30,000 to keep Democrats in Congress' as a lobbyist, Kathleen Peters says". PolitiFact. Tampa Bay Times. December 27, 2013.
  6. 1 2 3 Adam C. Smith for the Tampa Bay Times. January 3, 2014 Pinellas congressional candidate David Jolly: Connected and up to speed, but local enough?, tampabay.com; accessed September 16, 2016.
  7. Tau, Byron (November 15, 2013). "GOP candidate's Democratic giving past". Politico.
  8. Krueger, Curtis (January 9, 2014). "Congressional candidate David Jolly's girlfriend once named one of Washington's most beautiful people". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved March 9, 2014.
  9. Weigel, David (March 13, 2014). "David Jolly and Obamacare, One More Time". Slate. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  10. Smith, Adam (August 10, 2015). "David Jolly donated to Planned Parenthood executive". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  11. Gillin, Joshua (June 16, 2014). "U.S. Rep. David Jolly talks about veterans issues, Iraq and Jeb Bush". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  12. Krueger, Curtis (February 7, 2014). "New Jolly ad hits Sink on balanced budget, federal spending". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  13. Smith, Adam C. (March 3, 2014). "David Jolly campaigns as a C.W. Bill Young Republican, but which one?". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved March 9, 2014.
  14. "Email insights: David Jolly rips administration on national security - Florida Politics". Florida Politics. Retrieved March 15, 2016.
  15. "Jolly looks to hinder Obama on Gitmo". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved March 15, 2016.
  16. Meszaros, Jessica. "U.S. Reps Push To Extend Ban On Oil Drilling In Eastern Gulf Of Mexico". news.wgcu.org. Retrieved March 15, 2016.
  17. "Rep. David Jolly seeks more flood insurance legislation". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved March 15, 2016.
  18. "U.S. Senate candidate David Jolly introduces veterans health care legislation". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved March 15, 2016.
  19. "Florida – David Jolly calls on U.S. House to reinstate Pinellas County beach nourishment | Coastal Engineering News & Subscription List". coastalnewstoday.com. Retrieved March 15, 2016.
  20. Sullivan, Sean (July 21, 2014). "Republican Rep. David Jolly (Fla.) announces support for gay marriage". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 28, 2015.
  21. Mak, Tim (October 16, 2015). "Scientology Could Get Its Own Senator". The Daily Beast. Retrieved October 28, 2015.
  22. "Church of Scientology says item noting David Jolly's upcoming appearance was 'cheap shot'". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved October 28, 2015.
  23. "David Jolly and his wife to hang with the Scientologists". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved October 28, 2015.
  24. Members of Congress: Religious Affiliations
  25. Jolly’s passion for politics started early
  26. "David Jolly campaign scrubs Wikipedia mentions of Scientology, lobbying". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 2016-04-06.
  27. "Florida Senate Campaign Admits To Scrubbing Candidate's Wikipedia Page". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 2016-04-06.
  28. Kaczynski, Andrew (April 6, 2016). "Florida Senate Candidate: Scrubbing Of Wikipedia Page Was A "Careless Staff Mistake"". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  29. Smith, Adam C. (April 6, 2016). "David Jolly: It was staff mistake to scrub my Wikipedia page". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  30. 1 2 "Florida - Summary Vote Results: U.S. House - District 13 - GOP Primary". Associated Press. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
  31. Isenstadt, Alex (March 7, 2014). "National GOP turns on Florida candidate". Politico.com. Retrieved March 10, 2014. Over the past week, a half-dozen Washington Republicans have described Jolly’s campaign against Democrat Alex Sink as a Keystone Cops operation, marked by inept fundraising, top advisers stationed hundreds of miles away from the district in the state capital and the poor optics of a just-divorced, 41-year-old candidate accompanied on the campaign trail by a girlfriend 14 years his junior. The sources would speak only on condition of anonymity.
  32. Cassata, Donna (March 13, 2014). "Florida's Jolly Sworn in as Newest Congressman". Associated Press. Retrieved January 22, 2015.
  33. "U.S. House Election Results". Huffington Post. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  34. Associated Press (July 20, 2015). "Florida Congressman David Jolly running for Senate; ex-Gov. Charlie Crist eyes his seat". Florida Times-Union.
  35. Shastry, Anjali (August 17, 2015). "Race for Marco Rubio's Florida Senate seat shaping up as expensive, explosive". Washington Times. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  36. Kopan, Tal (June 17, 2016). "David Jolly drops out of Florida Senate race, possibly clearing way for Marco Rubio". CNN.
  37. Steve Newborn; Mark Schreiner (2016-11-09). "Crist Revives Political Career With Win over Jolly". WUSF-FM.
  38. "Florida U.S. House 13th District Results: Charlie Crist Wins". New York Times. 11 November 2016. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  39. State of Florida, General election returns, November 4, 1952, and November 2, 1954
  40. "U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young dies at 82". Tampa Bay Times. October 18, 2013. Retrieved January 5, 2014.
  41. "Pinella County Supervisor of Elections : Official Results". Enr.votepinellas.com. Retrieved October 28, 2015.
  42. "November 4, 2014 General Election Official Results". Florida Department of State Division of Elections. Retrieved January 1, 2015.

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Bill Young
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 13th congressional district

Succeeded by
Charlie Crist
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Bradley Byrne
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Curt Clawson
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