Jack Latvala, Allen West Lose as David Jolly Triumphs

By: Jeff Henderson | Posted: January 16, 2014 3:55 AM
Jack Latvala, David Jolly, Allen West

Jack Latvala, David Jolly, Allen West

David Jolly pulled together an impressive victory over two Republican primary rivals to become the GOP’s nominee in the battle for an open congressional seat in the Tampa Bay area.

Despite being a first-time candidate who was largely unknown in the race, Jolly was good on the stump and sharp when it came to policy. Jolly also proved to be a strong fundraiser and his team spent wisely. To be sure, Jolly starts off as a slight underdog against Alex Sink but he is certainly in the game.

But if Jolly emerges from the primary as a big winner, there were major losers as well. After first winning a Florida House seat in 2012, Kathleen Peters decided to run for Congress a year later. Jolly painted Peters as a liberal which helped ensure his win. Peters also cut her own throat with some over-the-top attacks on Jolly’s lobbying record, including insisting he backed Obamacare. These attacks fell flat and boomeranged back to hurt Peters. When the smoke cleared, Jolly beat her by 13 percent. Simply put, Peters underwhelmed.

Mark Bircher had an impressive background and he should have been made-to-order for the tea party to support. But Bircher pulled in less than a quarter of the total vote. His campaign spent what little money they had wisely, putting ads during conservative talk-radio shows for example, but there were also some serious blunders including not responding to a national pro-life group’s survey -- which allowed Jolly to win their endorsement.

Of course, there were other losers behind Peters and Bircher. Jack Latvala, the liberal media’s favorite Republican in Tallahassee, went all in for Peters and it didn’t pay off for him. Latvala’s looking to become Senate president and establish a political dynasty with his son Chris running for a House seat.

Latvala failed to deliver for Peters in his own backyard. This isn’t the first time, of course, Latvala lost on his own home field since he went for Jim Frishe over Jeff Brandes in a primary back in 2012. But the losses are starting to pile up on the Republican side since Latvala also backed Mike Weinstein over Aaron Bean in another Senate primary in 2012. With Peters not even coming close to beating Jolly, Latvala once again suffered a big loss which looks even worse since it’s on his home turf.

Allen West is another loser in Tuesday’s primary, though nowhere near as large a one as Latvala. West was the most prominent conservative behind Bircher who, despite claims of momentum, simply failed to be a major factor when the dust settled. Despite losing out to Democrat Patrick Murphy in 2012, West wants to remain one of Florida’s leading conservatives. He’ll be speaking to Sarasota Republicans next month and has floated his name out there as a possible Senate candidate if Marco Rubio doesn’t run again in 2016. Still, despite his last-minute push for Bircher, West could not see his candidate anywhere near close to victory.

For a first-time candidate, Jolly did a fine job of presenting himself as the most conservative candidate who could win the general election. He starts out behind Sink but she has a tendency of blowing things. Jolly has a real chance in this race despite being the underdog.

Tallahassee political writer Jeff Henderson writes exclusively for Sunshine State News.


Comments (3)

11:47AM JAN 16TH 2014
Allen West is not a loser, the fact that the candidate he supported lost, does not make him a loser . . .your article is written to denigrate Mr. Latvala and Mr. West.. . . it has a very negative tone. They did not lose . .. their candidates lost.
Allen West is a great American Patriot, and a hero, I object to your negative portrayal of him. He only lost in his last election because the establishment Republicans worked against him in redistricting, and he still would have won without voter fraud, which the establishment refused to help him investigate . ..
11:24AM JAN 17TH 2014
Yes, yes, you must be right . . . . can we help address those multiple delusions of yours . . . . your medical care is now guaranteed to include assistance with such mental issues, thanks to the Affordable Care Act . . . meanwhile, we'll inform Tod Mowrey (the GOP Chair of the St. Lucie County Commission who lead the recount) and Rick Scott (that self-declared champion fighter of voter fraud) that they're part of the evil "establishment" fighting against GOP candidates like Allen West . .

Pathetic . . . .
Barney Bishop III
7:14AM JAN 16TH 2014
I don't believe that Sen. Jack Latvala lost as big as the writer is suggesting. Sen. Latvala is still the "go-to" person in the Tampa Bay area. He's still the power in west central Florida that he's always been. Sure he lost some key Senate races, but no one wins 100% of the time when you enter the political arena. The fact that Sen. Latvala enters the arena is what makes him someone to take notice of. I've been on both sides with the Senator over the years and I can assure you that it's better to be with him than his against him. He is probably the sharpest political mind in the Senate having waged voluminous political battles over the years with his political campaign business. Never count the Senator down or out!

Leave a Comment on This Story

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.