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Endorsement Watch: National Right to Life, the Florida Medical Association, the Florida Retail Federation and others issue endorsements

There are just a few weeks until the election, and organizations across the state are rolling out endorsements for state and federal candidates.

Several organizations — National Right to Life, the Florida Medical Association, and the Florida Retail Federation — issued endorsements.

Local law enforcement officials have thrown their support behind Neal Dunn in Florida’s 2nd Congressional District.

The Dunn campaign announced the support of Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford; former Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner, former Bay County Sheriff, and Bay County Commissioner Guy Tunnell; and former Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen.

“The law enforcement community needs a strong voice in Washington that understands its important role in North Florida and in communities across our state,” said McKeithen in a statement. “I support Neal Dunn for Congress.  He is the candidate we need fighting for the safety and security of our families in our nation’s capital.”

Dunn faces Republicans Ken Sukhia and Mary Thomas in the Aug. 30 Republican primary.

“I know what it takes to serve our great nation and believe we must fight for the protection of our law enforcement officers,” said Dunn. “I appreciate the fact that my fellow community members can see through the disingenuous attacks made by my opponents, and I look forward to continuing to spread our positive conservative message to the voters of Congressional District 2 as we head toward Election Day.”

The National Right to Life Committee has endorsed Ken Sukhia in Florida’s 2nd Congressional District.

“All voters who are concerned with the right to life and with the protection of the most vulnerable members of the human family should vote to send you to Congress, so that you can work to advance vital anti-abortion public policies,” said David O’Steen, executive director of National Right to Life Committee, in an endorsement letter.

Florida Right to Life PAC and the Personhood FL Profile PAC have also backed Sukhia.

“I am humbled and deeply honored to be the only candidate for Congress in CD 2 to be endorsed by the National Right to Life, America’s oldest and strongest advocate for life,” said Sukhia. “I have fought for the unborn throughout my career, and I pledge to continue that fight in Congress.”

The League of Conservation Voters Action Fund has endorsed Stephanie Murphy and Susannah Randolph.

“Stephanie Murphy and Susannah Randolph are the strong environmental allies Floridians need fighting for them in Washington,” said LCV Action Fund President Gene Karpinski. “They will work tirelessly to create good-paying, clean energy jobs while protecting Florida’s precious natural landscapes and waterways for our children and grandchildren.”

Murphy, who is running in Florida’s 7th Congressional District, will face the winner of the Aug. 30 Republican primary in November. Republicans John Mica and Mark Busch are running.

“By protecting Florida’s natural resources, we not only preserve our beautiful state for generations to come, but we also protect our economic way of life and the jobs that come with it,” said Murphy. “When I am elected, I will be a strong advocate for our environment, for cleaner air and water, and for smart investments in green energy that both reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and make energy more affordable for Florida families.”

Randolph, who is running in Florida’s 9th Congressional District, faces state Sen. Darren SotoValleri Crabtree, and Dena Grayson in the Aug. 30 primary.

“I began my career leading efforts to stop drilling off Florida’s coastlines, working alongside groups like LCV who have been a powerful voice for our environment,” said Randolph. “That work inspired my years of advocacy, protecting and preserving our natural resources and waterways and fighting to combat climate change. I want my daughter, and all our children to grow up in a world that is safe and sustainable. In Congress, fighting to make that world a reality will be my top priority.”

The National Rifle Association has endorsed Daniel Webster in Florida’s 11th Congressional District.

“On behalf of our five million members across the country, the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund is proud to endorse Daniel Webster in the August 30, 2016, primary in the 11th Congressional District. We thank him for his steadfast support of the Second Amendment and his dedication to defending the rights of law-abiding gun owners and sportsmen,” said NRA-PVF Chairman Chris Cox in a statement.

Webster faces Justin Grabelle in the Aug. 30 primary.

“I am firmly committed to protecting our constitutional right to keep and bear arms and am pleased to receive the endorsement of the NRA,” said Webster.

Webster also received the backing of the Fraternal Order of Police.

“He will continue to serve the citizens as an effective Congressional leader. We believe in his proven dedication to serving his community, and his experience gives him an insight into what is needed in our state,” the organization said in a statement. “We look forward to working with Congressman Webster in Washington and know that he will be a voice of reason for his constituency.”

Rebecca Negron has been endorsed by the National Right to Life and Florida Right to Life PAC.

“We look forward to working with you to protect the most vulnerable members of the human family — unborn children and medically dependent or disabled persons, whose lives are threatened by abortion or euthanasia,” said National Right to Life leaders in its endorsement letter. “All voters who are concerned with the right to life and with the protection of the most vulnerable members of the human family should vote to send you to Congress, so that you can work to advance vital anti-abortion public policies.”

Negron faces Republicans Carl Domino, Mark Freeman, Rick Kozell, Brian Mast, and Noelle Nikpour in Florida’s 18th Congressional District.

“I am thrilled that both National Right to Life and Florida Right to Life PAC have recognized my firm anti-abortion stance and endorsed my bid for Florida CD 18,” she said in a statement. “I believe we must protect Florida families and establish a culture of life in our country. If elected, I will fight in opposition to federal funding for Planned Parenthood and instead will support ethical women’s health services.”

The National Right to Life Committee has endorsed Francis Rooney in Florida’s 19th Congressional District.

Founded in 1968, the organization is a national network that aims to protect and defend the right to life. The endorsement came just days after the Florida Right to Life Political Action Committee threw its support behind Rooney.

“I am honored to be the only candidate in this primary endorsed by the National Right to Life Committee, who is doing so much to promote the culture of life,” said Rooney in a statement. “We have a duty to protect and defend mothers and innocent unborn children. I look forward to working together in our shared mission and principles to advocate for the sanctity of life by advancing anti-abortion measures.”

Rooney faces Dan Bongino and Chauncey Goss in the Aug. 30 primary.

The Florida Retail Federation has endorsed Bob Healy in Senate District 15.

“As the founder of a successful small business that has expanded over the years, Bob knows both the importance that Florida’s small businesses play on the success of our state’s economy as well as providing them with the resources they need to grow,” said Randy Miller, the president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation. “His experience in starting and running an organization, along with his commitment to making our state more business friendly, makes him the perfect choice for Senate District 15.”

Healy faces Democrat Victor Torres in the Aug. 30 primary.

Florida Family Action has endorsed Matt Hudson in Senate District 28.

“Matt Hudson is a steadfast and unflinching conservative voice in the Florida Legislature. Unwilling to break from his principles, there is no doubt that Rep. Hudson will continue his dedication to protecting life and upholding strong family values in the Florida Senate,” said John Stemberger, president of Florida Family Action in a statement. “Voters in Senate District 28 who are committed to life, marriage, family, and religious liberty should be confident that Matt Hudson will represent them well in the Florida Senate.

Hudson faces Kathleen Passidomo in the Aug. 30 Republican primary.

The Florida Medical Association PAC has endorsed Jackie Toledo in House District 60.

“As she campaigns tirelessly for her seat, the FMA PAC is proud to stand with Jackie Toledo for House District 60,” said Dr. Chris Pittman, the president of the FMA PAC. “Jackie has put a lot of time and effort into the community already and now will be a great addition to the Florida House. The FMA looks forward to working with her to help Florida’s physicians and patients.”

Toledo faces Rebecca Smith in the Aug. 30 Republican primary.

“I’m honored to have the endorsement of Florida’s doctors,” said Toledo in a statement. “They’re on the front line of our state’s health care system, and they understand firsthand that we need conservative, consumer-based patient and health care legislation to lower costs and increase quality care for all Floridians.”

The Florida Medical Association has endorsed Bruce Antone in House District 64.

“The FMA PAC is happy to stand with Bruce Antone in his re-election bid. Rep. Antone has been a friend of medicine, and we look forward to continuing our work with him in the Florida House,” said Dr. Chris Pittman, president of the FMA PAC in a statement.

Antone faces Democrat Sheena Meade in the Aug. 30 primary.

“I am humbled, honored and pleased to receive the endorsement of the Florida Medical Association,” said Antone. “I look forward to working with the Florida Medical Association to develop and pass sound policy and legislation that will be beneficial to Florida’s citizens.”

The Florida Education Association has endorsed Ben Diamond in House District 68.

“The Florida Education Association is proud to endorse Ben Diamond in his race for the Florida House,” said FEA President Joanne McCall, in a statement. “Ben has been working in his community to address some of the most pressing education issues Pinellas County faces. Additionally, his experience in Tallahassee will make him a knowledgeable and effective advocate for strengthening our public schools. We can count on Ben to stand up to special interests and fight for our teachers and students.”

Diamond faces Eric Lynn in the Aug. 30 Democratic primary.

“I’m honored to receive the endorsement of the Florida Education Association,” said Diamond. “There is no more issue more important to Florida’s future than improving our public education system. Funding for our public schools will be one of my top priorities when I get to Tallahassee.”

Diamond also received the endorsement of the Suncoast Police Benevolent Association.

“The Suncoast Police Benevolent Association is proud to endorse Ben Diamond in his race for the Florida House,” said George Lofton, president of the Suncoast PBA. “We can count on Ben to stand up for our men and women in uniform, and make sound decisions to help keep our communities safe.”

The Florida Realtors Political Advocacy Committee has endorsed MaryLynn Magar in House District 82.

“We need a Legislature that focuses on making Florida a fair regulatory and low-tax state that helps create and maintain a vibrant state economy and strong real estate market,” said Bill Furst, chair of the Florida Realtors PAC Trustees, in announcing their endorsed candidates. “The goal of the Realtors PAC is to support candidates who promote policies that encourage home ownership and preserve the quality of life for our state.”

Magar, a Republican, faces Democrat Mary Higgins in the November general election.

“It’s great to have the support of Florida Realtors,” said Magar in a statement. “Florida real estate is one of the pillars of our economy. I look forward to working with them to make sure we have policies in place that keep it strong.”

Magar was also endorsed by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)/Save America’s Free Enterprise (SAFE) Trust Political Action Committee.

“Small business owners are facing huge workers’ compensation hikes from bad Florida Supreme Court opinions. Electing a pro-small business Legislature has never been more important,” said Bill Herrle, NFIB/Florida executive director, in a statement. “The endorsed candidates have demonstrated that they genuinely understand the challenges that small business owners in Florida are facing.”

Florida Planned Parenthood PAC endorsed Ivette Gonzalez Petkovic in House District 103.

“Ivette is a true role model for all young women looking to make a positive impact on the community they grew up in,” said Lillian Tamayo, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of South Florida and the Treasure Coast. “She has been a passionate advocate of protecting women’s access to health care services, and we are excited to work with her in the Legislature once she is elected.”

Gonzalez Petkovic faces Manny Diaz, Jr. in the November general.

 “It is with great pride that I stand with an organization that provides quality, affordable access to health care services to women across Florida,” she said in a statement. “With the threat of Zika virus growing more dire each day, now more than ever Florida’s women deserve the right to make their own personal health care decisions and as your state representative, I will always stand tall for women everywhere.”

The Laborers’ International Union of North America, Local 1652 has endorsed Robert Asencio in House District 118.

“Our members are committed to be part of the solution when it comes to growing the economy and delivering jobs — and Robert Asencio is ready to work hard to deliver results for Miami-Dade County,” said Tom Matthews, business manager for LIUNA Local 1652. “Our members are proud to endorse Robert Asencio because they know he will be a forceful voice for working families.”

Asencio will face the winner of the House District 118 Republican primary in November.

“I am honored to have LIUNA stand with me in my campaign for new leadership in the Florida House of Representatives,” he said in a statement. “I will never back down from any fight that puts working people ahead of the special interests that continue to dominate the halls of Tallahassee.”

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