Tags: Levin | Jolly | GOP | leadership

Mark Levin: GOP Establishment 'Dumped All Over' Jolly

Thursday, 13 Mar 2014 06:19 PM

By Greg Richter

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Republican Party leadership is celebrating this week's special election win by Florida Republican David Jolly, which kept the House seat in GOP hands and helped make a point that Obamacare is a key election issue in the fall.

But radio talk show host Mark Levin says party leadership is hypocritical. Prior to his unexpected win, party leaders were not so complimentary of Jolly in a story published by Politico last Friday, four days before polls opened.

National party officials thought Jolly was going to lose, so they went to Politico "and they dump all over this guy," Levin said Thursday on Fox News Channel's "Your World with Neil Cavuto."

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The Politico story talked about how GOP officials tried to get three other candidates to run for the seat left open by the death of Rep. Bill Young. Unnamed sources said Jolly was critical of one of the ads run against his Democratic opponent Alex Sink when Jolly had little money of his own. They also accused him of running a disjointed campaign akin to the Keystone Kops.

"They expected him to lose, and so they had their whole positioning ready to go that this was just another Todd Akin, a conservative kook," Levin said, referring to the Republican Senate candidate who lost a race in Missouri in 2012.

But Levin's radio listeners from Florida's 13th district had told him Jolly, a first-time candidate, beat the better-known and well-financed Sink because conservative groups turned out the vote at the grassroots level, he said. Obamacare was the key issue in the race, followed by amnesty for illegal immigrants, he told Cavuto.

"This guy never ran for public office before. They didn't want him. They did everything they could to stop him in the primary. Then they trashed the hell out of him when their polls showed him to be a few points behind," Levin said.

"The point is this: If we don't get new Republican leadership in Washington, clean out these consultants, clean out these Republican institutions, and put in some fresh people, new people, solid people who are really concerned about the country, really concerned about winning, this is the sort of sleazy crap that's going to go on."

Levin says he doesn't know whether Jolly will end up being a congressman he likes, but he wants the truth told about how he had to fight party leaders to get elected.

"It was assumed that everybody got behind this guy, the Republican establishment got behind this guy," Levin said. "I hope Mr. Jolly understands who his friends are and who his friends weren't."

Politico itself noticed the rift, running a story Thursday titled, "Why Republicans turn on their own." 

Writer Alex Isenstadt noted that former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford had received similar icy attention from the party as it pulled out of his congressional special election in May last year after it was revealed his ex-wife accused him of trespassing.

Having lost the last two presidential elections, Republicans are more willing to adopt a get-tough approach, Isenstadt writes.

"Often under assault from outside-the-Beltway conservatives, establishment GOP figures are searching out new ways to exert influence over unruly candidates," he writes. "Cross them, and there’s a good chance the candidate won’t like what results."

Jolly himself is steering clear of getting involved in the dispute. When Politico called his cell phone for comment, he hung up. He failed to return a text message sent later.

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