Hillsborough County Commission candidate Aakash Patel announced Monday that he’d picked up an endorsement from Republican U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis.
The pair got to know each other when Patel, 33, served as VP of the Indo-US Chamber of Commerce and worked with Bilirakis on outreach initiatives.
“I am pleased to offer my support and endorsement of Aakash Patel as he seeks to become the next Hillsborough County Commissioner from District 1. Aakash has been very active working with me on multiple outreach initiatives, and I am certain his enthusiasm for our community, his conservative principals, and his business acumen will be put to great use for the good of the people,” the Tarpon Springs Republican said.
Patel, who now runs his own business consulting firm, accepted Bilirakis’ endorsement and said it meant a great deal to him.
“I am so very honored to have him endorse my campaign for Hillsborough County Commission. I work daily to bring more conservative involvement in our community and will continue to do so when elected to the County Commission from District 1,” he said.
“It has been my privilege to work with Congressman Bilirakis for the betterment of Hillsborough County, and I look forward to continuing our efforts while serving in a greater capacity on the County Commission.”
Patel is running against fellow Republican C. Todd Marks to replace Commissioner Sandy Murman, who is expected to leave her District 1 seat to run for the countywide District 7 post in 2018.
Tampa state Rep. Janet Cruz is also filed to run for the seat, though she is thought to be eyeing a run for state Senate instead.
Patel is leading the pack in fundraising, with more than $400,000 raised as of his March campaign finance report.