Jolly drops out of Senate race, will face Crist to keep seat

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Republican U.S. Rep. David Jolly is dropping out of Florida’s Senate race and will run for re-election.

Jolly made his announcement Friday as speculation brewed that Republican Sen. Marco Rubio will run for re-election after previously saying he would give up his seat.

Jolly’s decision now sets up a competitive race with former Republican governor and now Democrat Charlie Crist in a district that was redrawn more favorably for Democrats.

Jolly won office by defeated Democrat Alex Sink in a March 2014 special election. He faced no serious opposition the following November and was re-elected.

He entered the Senate race after it became clear his district would favor Democrats. He’s now changing his mind as failed presidential candidate Marco Rubio considers running for re-election. The deadline to qualify for the ballot is next Friday.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.