Jolly participated at the event hosted by Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce forum this morning with fellow Republicans Kathleen Peters and Mark Bircher. The three are on the ballot in next week's special GOP election primary to determine who will then face Democrat Alex Sink in March.
According to an account written by Adam Smith on the Tampa Bay Times Buzz Blog, Jolly called it a "complete fabrication" that he had ever lobbied for oil-drilling interests.
But as the DCCC points out, Jolly lobbied in 2011 on behalf of Free Enterprise Nation for the Roadmap for America’s Energy Future, an initiative that would open up the Outer Continental Shelf to offshore drilling, as well as open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to drilling.
“Washington lobbyist David Jolly is proving exactly why Pinellas residents don’t trust D.C. lobbyists — lying to Pinellas residents about his record of lobbying for off-shore drilling," said David Bergstein from the DCCC.
But Sarah Bascom, a spokesperson for Jolly, tells CL that Jolly did not lobby on the issue of off-shore drilling for Free Enterprise Nation (an earlier version of this story inaccurately reported Bascom as saying that Jolly did not lobby for Free Enterprise Nation at all).
Earlier in the campaign state Representative Kathleen Peters charged Jolly with lobbying on behalf of Obamacare in the state of Washington, but his campaign immediately refuted the charge, even making a top-ranking official with the company in question deny that Jolly did any lobbying on healthcare with his company.
Jolly's history as a lobbyist after leaving his job with Congressman Young was a factor in why Clearwater state Senator Jack Latvala said the party could do better in finding its nominee, castigating him as a "D.C. lobbyist."
The CD13 race continues to garner national attention. The Hotline today listed the race as the fourth most likely seat in the country that could flip political parties in 2014. In the case of CD13 that would mean switching to a Democrat after more than half a century under Republican control.