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David Jolly: I'm Not Going to Endorse Trump, and If Election Were Today, I Wouldn't Vote for Him, Either

September 2, 2016 - 6:00am
Charlie Crist, David Jolly and Donald Trump
Charlie Crist, David Jolly and Donald Trump

Former Gov. Charlie Crist has attempted to tie his congressional opponent U.S. Rep. David Jolly to Donald Trump, but Jolly has no intention of making that connection easy for the former Florida governor who is now his direct competitor.

Jolly has been notoriously hesitant to endorse Trump, and has always been cautious to avoid swaying one way or the other -- until now. 

It all started when Jolly beat opponent Mark Bircher in the Republican primary Tuesday. Crist used Jolly's win as an opportunity to attack the GOP nominee for "supporting" Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's policies.

“This Republican primary season has been pretty frightening,” Charlie Crist said in a statement this week. “It saddens me to think that anyone who supports Donald Trump’s agenda could ever represent Pinellas County.”

Shortly after Crist released his statement, Jolly released one of his own, saying he hasn’t endorsed anyone in the presidential election, but still didn’t come out with a refusal to back Trump entirely.

In an interview with Sunshine State News, however, Jolly confirmed he does not and will not endorse Trump for president.

“Trump doesn’t have my support in terms of an endorsement,” he said.

Furthermore, the freshman member of Congress said he would not even vote for Trump if he had to go to the polls now.

“If the election were today, I would not support Donald Trump,” he said. “I don’t know where I’ll be in November, but I don’t see a pathway to support Donald Trump.”

Jolly’s past with Trump has been something of a roller coaster over the past year. When the Republican presidential primary field was larger, Jolly’s criticisms of Trump were much fiercer. At one point, Jolly even called for Trump to withdraw from the primary entirely, citing his “bullying” and “bigotry.”

When Trump became the presumptive nominee, Jolly’s position softened to more of an uncertainty, and he vowed he wouldn’t stop his party from nominating Trump.

Jolly says his main priority is putting his beliefs over party affiliation, and his beliefs on Trump don’t seem to call for an endorsement.

Joining the chorus of Republicans who once spoke out against Trump but have come back to give him the thumbs-up isn’t on Jolly’s priority list. 

“[The party has] such concern that they want me out there leading a parade for him and my answer is that I think we want political leaders who put conviction ahead of party,” he told SSN. “Just because he’s a Republican nominee doesn’t mean I’m going to support him.”

Jolly’s not the first one to have reservations about the GOP’s presidential nominee. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has been vehemently anti-Trump since entering the presidential primary, and has refused to support the GOP nominee. 

Other Florida politicians have thrown their weight behind Trump and have fully supported his run for the Oval Office, but Jolly says if the scenario was different -- and Trump was running for a different office -- those people wouldn’t be so quick to back him.

“There are situations we’ve seen in the past where the party has abandoned candidates, just not at this level,” said Jolly. “If this was another office, I think the party would have abandoned [Trump.]”

Crist’s own involvement with Trump is another side to consider, since he and Trump have actually associated in the past. When Crist was a Republican running for Senate in 2010 (before he became an Independent candidate), the Donald actually gave Crist $4,800 for his campaign. Trump also held two fundraisers for the former Florida governor during that time. Even before then, Trump was scheduled to host a fundraiser for the former Florida governor when he last ran for that office in 2005. 

"He could not have been more gracious or more hospitable," Crist told the Tampa Bay Times about his first encounter with Trump. "The guy cares about Florida. He has a residence in Florida and spends a lot of time in Florida."

This is just the beginning of what is bound to be an ugly race between Crist and Jolly, and the stakes are high. Crist hasn’t held office since 2010, and the natural politician in him is chomping at the bit to get back into the public sphere. 

The odds are in his favor in CD13, which favors Democrats, but Jolly has been known to muster votes and knock out big names in Florida politics as he did with Alex Sink during the special election, which put him in office in 2014. 

The general election will be Nov. 8. 



Reach reporter Allison Nielsen by email at or follow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen.




So, judging comments here...selling out all republican principles to support Trump makes you a RINO, and embracing Trump's liberal populist nationalism that isn't one little bit republican is a bad move? lol What a wacky world. Jesus take the wheel, because these fools are drunk.

IF JOLLY does not endorse Trump it shows that he has allegiance to no one or anything ( LIKE his Country) but himself and his special interests. I blame the uninformed voters of his district for giving JOLLY this position. They had a great man in Bircher to vote for and they stuck us with JOLLY. Pinell Ass as usual , picks the worst of the worst candidates. Why am I living here? I am leaving asap. believe me. JOLLY was censured by the people in his district for not conforming to "conservative" values. Did you know that? The RINOs elected this guy. and I do believe those RINOS will vote for Crist. They play these games. Kiss your Jolly _____ goodbye! Go TRUMP! We have a choice FREEDOM or SLAVERY , Globalism or a sovereign America. TRUMP is for America First. I like that and it has been a lifetime coming to this point- a man for We the People. Trump is our last chance to save this country, a good man . Neither of these BOYS, JOLLY or Crist are in this to restore America and the Constitution. Neither of these BOYS have intention of anything positive for the people of this country. Neither deserve the honor of working for us in the House of Representatives.

The only reason to vote for David Jolly is the fact Charlie Crist is so much worse. Charlie went from Republican to independent to demorat all so he could ride the taxpayer gravy train. He is in the election for the pay check not because he cares!

I just cannot believe Jolly has gotten as far as he already has. The guy is an alleged Republican BUT he'll vote for the Democrat for President. So, where's the GOP officials stripping Jolly of his membership? They're all cowards! GO TRUMP!!

Does this mean you Hillary to win? I was so glad to see your winning margin in the primary, but if you decide to try for the Senate, again, you won't get my vote!

I'm wondering if Jolly isn't really a Democrat in Republican clothes. Or maybe he is just pandering for the Dem vote in newly redistricted CD13. Either way he'll lose. If he can't support Trump, I can't support Jolly. Or sorry Charlie.

Wow! He won't be getting my vote. Since when is being a RINO a good thing?

Then Jolly must wanna support clinton. It's clowns like this that need to be treated like Alan Grayson and LOSE! If you don't support Trump then you support clinton and if that happens we get a confirmed liar running America into the ground.

Good luck Jolly your not going to win this one.

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