Keith Cate sits down with David Jolly - WFLA News Channel 8

Keith Cate sits down with David Jolly

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"We have a wonderful family. I'm blessed by the family," said Congressional District 13 Republican candidate David Jolly during a conversation at his home, while celebrating his aunt Carol’s birthday.

“They are our hardest campaign workers right now,” Jolly said.

You can learn a lot about David Jolly by spending time with his family. Leafing through pictures with his mother, we discovered this preacher’s kid is a fifth-generation Floridian who loves baseball, plays piano, and was elected student body president at Pasco High School.

Jolly graduated from Emory University with a degree in history, and earned a law degree from George Mason University. He prides himself on being a man rooted in faith and family, with a passion for public policy.

"I didn't come from means,” said Jolly. “I followed the desires of my heart which led me into public policy.”

Jolly served as an aide to the late U.S. Representative Bill Young for nearly twenty years, before becoming a lobbyist. He is proud of his lobbying work, and it’s something his Democrat opponent, Alex Sink, uses against him.

I asked Jolly about the allegations that he would put special interests over the residents of Pinellas County.

“No,” said Jolly. “And let me tell you my opponent knows that they are playing loose with the truth on this. They absolutely are.”

However, when it comes to painting with broad strokes, it’s a two-way street, as demonstrated by an anti-Sink ad attacking her support for the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare”.

"Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi got us into this mess that is now Obamacare,” Jolly said. “And it's foolish to suggest that Obama, Pelosi and Alex Sink will get us out of it.”

Both candidates agree something needs to be done to prevent skyrocketing flood insurance rates. Jolly wants to replace national flood insurance with national disaster insurance, uniting all states under a single program that covers it all.

“The idea works because it stabilizes prices and drives down affordability, drives down the cost to the homeowner,” said Jolly.

The 13th Congressional District seat has been held by a Republican since 1954, when Democrat Courtney Campbell lost re-election.

But, the grip conservatives once had on this district has loosened in recent years. It is now evenly split between red and blue.

“Even if I wasn't a candidate in this race I would be following it every day because we know what it means,” Jolly said. “It's a purple district. The eyes of the nation are on this district.”

Jolly considers himself the underdog in the District 13 special election fight. His opponent has statewide name recognition, and a financial advantage. Jolly believes he can win on issues, and he is also hoping that voters won’t allow Democrats to exercise what he calls their “beltway arrogance”, which suggests there is no one from Pinellas County worth to serve in Congress.

“We could be represented by two democrats from Hillsborough county in Tampa with Cathy Castor and Alex Sink,” Jolly said. “They've already taken our post office, they want to take our baseball team, they want to take our congressional seat... What's next, our beaches? We are Pinellas County.”

Watch Wednesday at 6 p.m. for Keith's interview with Democrat Alex Sink, and Thursday for Lucas Overby!

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