Aakash Patel's latest big-name endorser? Carlos Lopez-Cantera - Florida Politics

Aakash Patel’s latest big-name endorser? Carlos Lopez-Cantera

Aakash Patel

Tampa businessman Aakash Patel announced Monday that Lieutenant Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera has endorsed his campaign for Hillsborough County Commission District 1.

“I had the opportunity to get to know Aakash Patel through his work with Leadership Tampa Bay and his service on their Board of Directors since 2014. Aakash has impressed me with his drive, ambition and ability to apply his conservative ideals to encourage and mentor others in the business community and leadership roles,” Lopez-Cantera said.

“I strongly support his effort to become a member of the Hillsborough County Commission where I am certain he will work to consistently apply his solid conservative principals in all that he does. I wholeheartedly endorse Aakash Patel, in his campaign to become the next Hillsborough County Commissioner for District 1.”

Patel, a Republican, is a 2011 graduate and current member of the Board of Directors of Leadership Tampa Bay, a non-profit organization that educates and trains its members on issues facing the Tampa Bay region.

“I am extremely honored to have the support of such a true conservative friend as Carlos Lopez-Cantera,” Patel said. “Having spent time advancing individuals in leadership roles beside the Lt. Governor, I sincerely admire his strength and guidance across the State of Florida. I sincerely thank Lt. Governor Lopez-Cantera for his endorsement of my campaign for Hillsborough County Commission.”

CLC’s endorsement is the latest in a long string of Republican elected officials who’ve lined up to back Patel. Two weeks ago, Zephyrhills Republican Rep. Danny Burgess announced his support, and prior endorsements include Tarpon Springs U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, Panhandle U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, former House Speaker Will Weatherford and Sarasota state Rep. Joe Gruters.

Patel faces fellow Republican C. Todd Marks and Democrat Jen McDonald in the race for District 1, the seat currently held by Republican Commissioner Sandra Murman, who has filed to run for the countywide District 7 seat in 2018.

Patel leads the field in fundraising with more than $433,000 raised and $267,000 on hand through the end of April. Marks has not filed his April report, but had about $76,000 in the bank at the end of March. McDonald filed last month and has not yet filed her first campaign finance report.

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for SaintPetersBlog and FloridaPolitics.com. While at the University of Florida, Wilson was an editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and after graduation, he moved to Los Angeles to cover business deals for The Hollywood Reporter. Before joining Extensive Enterprises, Wilson covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools.
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