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Veterans group picks Greg Steube for CD 17

Sarasota Republican Sen. Greg Steube has earned the backing of veterans group With Honor in his bid to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney in Florida’s 17th Congressional District.

With Honor’s mission is to “help elect principled next-generation veterans to office who will work in a cross-partisan way to create a more effective and less polarized government.” Candidates endorsed by the group must make a three-point pledge to always speak the truth, always respect their colleagues and to defend the rights of all Americans – even if that means reaching across the aisle.

Steube is a former U.S. Army Captain who is a veteran of the Iraq War.

“I am honored to be supported by those who have served our country. Congress needs leaders who will fix the dysfunction and act on principle. I look forward to giving our veterans another voice in Congress and am thrilled to receive the backing of such a worthy organization,” he said.

Steube was elected to the Florida House in 2010 and moved up to the Florida Senate in 2016. He was the first major candidate to announce a run for CD 17 after Rooney’s said he would not seek re-election in the fall.

He started his campaign with dozens of backers, including Senate President Joe Negron, Senate President Designate Bill Galvano, Senate Majority Leader Wilton Simpson, Naples Republican Sen. Kathleen Passidomo and Lakeland Republican Sen. Kelli Stargel.

Sarasota state Rep. Julio Gonzalez joined him in the Republican Primary shortly after the 2018 Legislative Session wrapped, while Port Charlotte Republican Bill Akins filed well before Rooney’s announcement.

All three will be on the Aug. 28 Republican Primary ballot.

Through March 31, Gonzalez led the money race with nearly $234,000 in contributions during the first few weeks of his campaign compared to $63,550 for Steube. Gonzalez’ total includes $150,000 in candidate loans, while Steube’s includes $15,000.

CD 17 sprawls across parts of Sarasota, Lee and Polk counties as well as the whole of Charlotte, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Highlands and Okeechobee counties. It is rated “safe Republican” by Sabato’s Crystal Ball, the prediction newsletter from University of Virginia political science professor Larry Sabato.

Written By

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.

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