Former Rep. Ed Hooper picked up an endorsement for his 2018 Senate campaign Friday from fellow Republican Bill Galvano, who is set to become Senate President after next year’s elections.
“Having served the community most of his life, Ed Hooper understands the issues that face Senate District 16. Ed is known for being a champion of economic development, job creation, and quality education for our kids,” Galvano said in a press release. “The election of Ed Hooper to the Florida Senate will be beneficial to not just his constituents, but all residents of the great state of Florida.”
Hooper is running for the seat currently held by Clearwater Republican Sen. Jack Latvala, who is termed out of the senate and running for Florida governor in 2018.
Hooper has called the Clearwater area home for 45 years, including 24 years working for the city’s fire department. He served in the House from 2006 through 2014, when term limits forced him to retire, and has spent his three years out of the Legislature working as a consultant.
Currently, Hooper is the only Republican candidate in the race. Since filing in January 2016, he has racked up endorsements and raised about $144,000 for his campaign.
Also running is Democrat Bernie Fensterwald, who filed for the race in June. He has raised $12,400 for his campaign and has about $7,000 in the bank.
Senate District 16 has a similar makeup to the pre-redistricting Senate District 20. It covers the northern half of Pinellas County and a strip of coastal Pasco County that includes New Port Richey.
The district favors GOP candidates, with about 20,000 more registered Republicans than registered Democrats, and voted for Donald Trump last year over Hillary Clinton 56-39.