Florida Congressman David Jolly announces run for US Senate

U.S. Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.)

U.S. Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.) AP

U.S. Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.)AP

U.S. Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. –- Florida Congressman David Jolly announced Monday that he’s running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Marco Rubio, who is running for president.

Jolly, a Republican who was elected to Congress in the spring of 2014, made the announcement to the media Monday morning. He was scheduled to hold a campaign rally later in the day.

Jolly represents Florida’s 13th Congressional district, which encompasses almost all of Pinellas County on the Gulf Coast.

He will face Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera of Miami and Congressman Ron DeSantis of Jacksonville in the primary. Democratic Congressmen Patrick Murphy of Jupiter and Alan Grayson of Orlando are also seeking the seat.

The race is expected to draw national attention because it gives Democrats a chance to pick up a seat in the Republican-controlled Senate.

During his 15 months in Congress, the 42-year-old Jolly has voiced support for same-sex marriage and voted against a GOP House plan because it called for dramatic changes to Medicare.

“I do believe in personal freedom,” Jolly said Monday when asked about his stance on same-sex marriage. He added that his faith leads him to believe in “traditional marriage,” but that the constitution allows for both traditional and same sex marriage.

Jolly said he will “reject the politics of division and class warfare that have defined the current Administration,” keep pushing for increased health care benefits for veterans and continue to criticize President Obama on his foreign policy.

“We will not tolerate failed foreign policies and wavering alliances that leave America vulnerable to a dangerous treaty with Iran, weakness before our enemies and a failed policy to combat ISIS,” he said in a news release.

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