Former lawmaker Ed Hooper is looking to rejoin the Legislature via Senate District 16 next year, and in the past couple days he’s landed endorsements from the two men who would serve as Senate President during his first term.
“Ed Hooper is a committed public servant dedicated to working for his neighbors. As a firefighter and as an elected official, Ed has demonstrated that we can trust him to get job done,” Majority Leader Wilton Simpson said in a press release. “Common sense and integrity are the hallmarks of a leader, so I give my full support to Ed and ask the people of District 16 to join me to support Ed Hooper for the Florida Senate.”
Simpson, a businessman and farmer, has been in the Florida Senate since 2012 and is set to take over as Senate President after the 2020 elections.
“I appreciate Senator Simpson’s faith in my candidacy and in my ability to get the job done,” Hooper said. “I look forward to working with him in the Senate and getting good things done for Florida.”
Simpson’s public show of support for Hooper comes just days after an endorsement from Bradenton Sen. Bill Galvano, who is a couple weeks away from becoming Senate president designate and would take over for current Senate President Joe Negron following next year’s election.
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 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.
SD 16 covers the northern half of Pinellas County and a strip of coastal Pasco County that includes New Port Richey. It also has a clear GOP lean, with about 20,000 more registered Republicans than registered Democrats. The district voted for Donald Trump last year over Hillary Clinton 56-39.
Since filing in January 2016, Hooper has racked up endorsements from fellow GOP pols – including one from Latvala – and raised about $144,000 for his campaign.