Jeb Bush: Jolly Good for Congress

Photograph by Chris Zuppa/Tampa Bay Times/Zuma Press

David Jolly, center, hugs Brent Narog after Jolly won the Republican nomination for C.W. Bill Young’s congressional seat at the St. Petersburg Marriott Clearwater on Jan. 14, 2014.

Jeb Bush, the former Republican Florida governor, said last week he’ll only run for president in 2016 if he can do so “joyfully.”

For now, he’ll settle for Jolly.

Bush gave his endorsement to David Jolly, running in a special congressional election in Florida, in an ad released today by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“With all the dysfunction in Washington, your next congressman needs to know how to get things done,” Bush says looking into the camera. “That’s Dave Jolly.”

Bush, the son and brother of former presidents who has been out of elected office since 2007, said last week he will decide whether to run for president later this year. But as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s poll numbers decline amid investigations into a bridge-closing scandal —Bush has seen his political stock increase. Some establishment Republicans are mentioning his name among a small group of potential 2016 contenders.

Jolly faces former state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, a Democrat who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2010. Both parties are spending heavily in the special election, which takes place March 11 in a St. Petersburg-based district that backed President Barack Obama and the late Republican Congressman C.W. “Bill” Young in 2012. Young died last year after 42 years in office.

Democrats and Republicans see the race, which the Rothenberg Political Report lists as a “pure tossup,” as a bellwether for the 2014 midterm elections.

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