Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry made another late-game endorsement in a statewide race Monday, backing Rep. Baxter Troutman for Agriculture Commissioner.
This endorsement indicates the value of relationships. Curry’s chief of staff Brian Hughes had been running the Troutman campaign before Hughes took a city job. Now, the operation is run by another Jacksonville op, Carlo Fassi.
The timing of the endorsement’s release seems less than coincidental, counterprogramming Sen. Marco Rubio campaigning in Hialeah on Monday for Rep. Matt Caldwell, one of Troutman’s three opponents (whose campaign manager Brian Swensen had the same role in Curry’s 2015 campaign for Jacksonville mayor).
Curry, a statement from the Troutman campaign said, is “happy to endorse Baxter Troutman … a farmer and rancher, a businessman who has created thousands of jobs, and … a genuine conservative.”
“Of all those seeking this job,” Curry emphasized, “Baxter is clearly the most qualified and ready to help keep Florida growing.”
In accepting the endorsement, Troutman noted Curry’s “proven record of problem-solving.”
“He’s demonstrated that executives can implement conservative policies, stand by their convictions, and get things done despite our current heated political climate,” Troutman remarked.
Campaign manager Fassi asserts that the Troutman campaign is poised to win, leading “outside the margin of error in every statewide poll conducted in this primary to succeed Adam Putnam.”
“Our internals have had Baxter anywhere from 6-10 points ahead of our nearest competitor,” Fassi adds, “while industry polls have shown the race even less competitive.”
The GOP race comes down to Troutman, Caldwell, state Sen. Denise Grimsley, and Mike McCallister.