endorsement Archives - Florida Politics

Seminole County schools unions back Lee Mangold in HD 28 race

Democratic Florida House nominee Lee Mangold has received the endorsement of a coalition of unions representing teachers and other employees of Seminole County Schools for his quest to be elected in House District 28, his campaign announced Monday.

Mangold has been endorseed by UniServe, the umbrella organization for the Seminole Education Association, Seminole Education Clerical Association, Seminole County School Bus Drivers Association, and Non-Instructional Personnel of Seminole County.

“Seminole UniServ wholeheartedly endorses Dr. Lee Mangold for Florida House District 28,” UniServe stated in a news release issued by Mangold’s campaign. “Lee possesses a commitment to public schools and its employees. We have no doubt that he will be a great asset to Florida’s public schools and serve the people of the 28th district well.”

Mangold, a professor and member of he United Faculty of Florida from Casselberry, faces business consultant Republican David Smith in the Nov. 6 election. HD 28 covers northeast Seminole County and the seat is open because incumbent Republican state Rep. Jason Brodeur is running for the Flordia Senate.

“There’s a reason I talk about education so much. Better education leads to more jobs, better jobs, safer communities, and even healthier communities,” Mangold stated in the release. “Unfortunately, many in the legislature fail to understand the critical role that education plays in our world. I am a strong advocate for our public school system, our public school teachers, our public school support staff, and our students. Protecting the rights of our teachers and staff, paying them a living wage, and protecting their collective bargaining powers are fundamental issues that everyone should support in our education workforce.”

Fred Guttenberg endorses Bill Nelson for Senate

Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter, Jaime, was killed seven months ago in the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School, and other parents who lost children in the tragedy endorsed incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson at an event Friday afternoon.

Guttenberg also laid into Nelson’s Republican opponent, Gov. Rick Scott.

“In Florida, under Rick Scott, nothing was done on guns or school safety after prior incidents like Pulse or the Fort Lauderdale airport shooting,” Guttenberg said. “Perhaps, had more been done previously I would only be known as the same small group of families that knew me as Jesse and Jamie’s dad.”

Guttenberg praised Nelson for his support of universal background checks and banning assault weapons, and blasted his GOP opponent for his refusal to enact common-sense gun safety measures.

The event was held at the Marriott Coral Springs. Guttenberg followed the announcement with a Twitter post reiterating the endorsement, noting several other Parkland families were also in attendance.

U.S. Rep Ted Deutch, who serves the 22nd Congressional District, which covers Parkland, also spoke to the crowd gathered at the Marriott.

“Don’t let people tell you the issue of gun violence has fallen by the wayside,” Deutch said, according to Kara Voght of Mother Jones.

“It’s not what I see, it’s not what I hear.”

Voght also posted comments from Guttenberg himself, where he spoke of the loss of his daughter and why he now seeks stricter gun control measures.

“For those who want to know why I’ve become active in the issue of gun safety and why I call for an ‘orange wave‘ in November, it’s because I start my days at a cemetery. When I think about Jaime running down the hallway and running for her life with an active shooter at her back until ‘boom,’ a single shot to her spinal cord, she needed only one more second to be safe, I have no choice.

“When we know that had the issues of guns been previously dealt with in this state that this issue could have been prevented, I have no choice.”

Florida Chamber endorses 16 more legislative candidates

The Florida Chamber of Commerce has put out its third wave of endorsements for state legislative seats, giving the nod to 16 more candidates, including a pair of incumbents running for re-election in South Florida.

A handful of the Florida Chamber’s new endorsements are revisions reflecting a handful of surprise victories in the Aug. 28 primary election.

“As we saw during the primary election, election outcomes can be unpredictable, but it’s our job to make sure that voters stay informed about the best possible candidates to move Florida forward,” said Marian Johnson, the Florida Chamber’s senior VP of political operations. “The Florida Chamber is proud to support candidates that support free enterprise.”

Among those getting the nod in round three was state Rep. Gayle Harrell, who demolished Belinda Keiser in the Republican primary for Senate District 25. Harrell now faces Rob Levy, a Stuart Democrat, in the Nov. 6 general election. The Chamber hadn’t offered a recommendation in the race prior to Thursday’s announcement.

The two incumbents earning an endorsement were Lake Clarke Shores Democratic Rep. David Silvers and Wellington Democratic Rep. Matt Willhite. Silvers’ only opposition is Green Party candidate Samson LeBeau Kpadenou, who is outmatched in fundraising, while Willhite faces Royal Palm Beach Republican Laurel Bennett, who is similarly underfunded and faces long odds in the deep blue House District 86.

Among the non-electeds earning the Chamber’s support were a pair of candidates who face tough battles in the fall: House District 69 candidate Ray Blacklidge and House District 93 candidate Chip LaMarca.

Blacklidge routed the Chamber’s prior pick, Jeremy Bailie, in the Republican primary and now faces Democratic nominee Jennifer Webb in the general election. The primary battle was expensive, and Blacklidge currently trails Webb in both campaign fundraising and cash on hand.

LaMarca, a Broward County Commissioner, was uncontested in the Republican primary, but he is up against well-funded Democrat Emma Collum in the general. With $335,000 raised, LaMarca has her beat threefold in hard-money fundraising, though an “angel donor” stepped in with $200,000 in committee cash to put her on even footing in the race — Republicans only hold a slim advantage in the Broward-based district currently held by term-limited Rep. George Moraitis.

Other candidates getting the nod after their Chamber-backed rivals lost in the primary include HD 10 Republican nominee Chuck Brannan, who faces two NPA candidates and Democrat Ronald Williams in November; HD 51 Republican nominee Tyler Sirois, who is going head-to-head with Democrat Mike Blake; and HD 73 Republican nominee Tommy Gregory, who cruised in the primary after one-time candidate Melissa Howard withdrew from the contest after it was revealed she had faked a diploma from Miami University.

The remaining endorsements went to HD 32 Republican nominee Anthony Sabatini, HD 103 Republican nominee Frank Mingo, HD 28 Republican nominee David Smith, HD 71 Republican nominee Will Robinson, HD 105 Republican nominee Ana Maria Rodriguez, HD 62 Democratic nominee Dianne Hart and HD 119 Republican nominee Juan Alfonso Fernandez-Barquin.

Based on the makeup of their districts, Sabatini and Robinson are set to win in November, while Hart’s only competition is a write-in candidate. Rodriguez and Fernandez-Barquin face underfunded candidates in the general, as does Smith, though HD 28 could produce a close result on Election Day. Mingo has the money advantage in his race, though HD 103 was carried by Hillary Clinton two years ago and his opponent, Cindy Polo, has earned the backing of some groups, including Ruth’s List Florida.

The Florida Chamber’s first wave of endorsements came in May. It followed up with a second wave, which included 20 state legislative candidates, in mid-July.

Election Day is Nov. 6.

SEIU to put $5 million toward Florida elections

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is pledging $5 million to help elect candidates throughout Florida this November.

In a statement obtained by Florida Politics, the group says the money will go toward “advertising, communications and get-out-the-vote efforts in Florida to support candidates dedicated to lifting up the middle class.”

“Having to work two full-time jobs to barely feed your children or pay your rent is not freedom,” said SEIU Florida President Monica Russo.

“Living in fear of getting sick because you can’t afford a doctor is not freedom,” she added. “Having no voice in the workplace because you could get fired on a whim is not freedom. Instead, we’re uniting for the freedom Florida families need to achieve better, more secure lives.”

SEIU Florida has also recruited hundreds of members to volunteer through the election cycle. Their efforts will include canvassing neighborhoods and working phone banks.

The organization says it will assist candidates who support a $15 per hour minimum wage, protection of Medicare and expansion of Medicaid, along with the rights of employees to join a union.

News of the monetary contribution comes on the same day the group announced it was backing Andrew Gillum, the Democratic nominee in the race for Governor.

“Andrew Gillum is going to bring working-class values back to the governor’s office so that all Floridians have the freedom to pursue their dreams and support their families,” Russo said.

“Andrew has been fighting his entire life to ensure that every Floridian can earn a good wage, have a safe roof over their head and access quality, affordable health care to give working people the freedom they deserve.”

Shawn Harrison

Frank Reddick crosses the aisle to back Shawn Harrison’s re-election bid in HD 63

Tampa City Council Chairman Frank Reddick has endorsed state Rep. Shawn Harrison in his re-election bid for Hillsborough County’s House District 63.

Tampa City Councilors are chosen in non-partisan elections, though Reddick is a Democrat and Harrison is a Republican. HD 63 is a swing seat that Harrison has held for three non-consecutive terms. In 2018, he faces Democratic attorney Fentrice Driskell.

“I have known and worked along-side Shawn Harrison for 12 years. Representative Harrison is a true bipartisan leader. He doesn’t just talk the talk. When Shawn was Chairman Pro-Tem of the Tampa City Council, he supported my efforts to make East Tampa a stronger community. When we asked for help to stop the evictions from Tampa Park Apartments, Shawn contacted HUD on our behalf and together we were successful,” Reddick said.

“He was the only Republican in the State to support my efforts for a special session on Stand your Ground. And when needy families had an opportunity for expanded Medicaid, Shawn once again crossed party lines to support the people back home. As a Representative in Tallahassee, he has shown the courage to stand up for what’s right for his constituents, even if it meant voting against his party,” he continued.

“For decades, Shawn has proven to not only me, but the thousands of constituents he’s represented over the years, that he is willing to tackle big problems and fight for what is right and fair for our community, regardless of political party,” Reddick said.

“Shawn Harrison fought to make sure our children have access to better schools and a brighter future with his support of Hope Scholarships. And Shawn even went so far as to donate hundreds of family books to the kids at Kimbell Elementary with his ‘Read Little Cougars’ challenge. Representative Harrison is there for us when we need him most and I’m excited to endorse him and continue my work with him to move our community forward and create better opportunities for all,” Reddick concluded.

Harrison was grateful for the resounding endorsement from the influential Democrat and former colleague.

“Chairman Reddick is a friend and former colleague on the Tampa City Council. He is one of the true statesmen of our region. He has been a leading voice in our community for decades. I welcome the chance to support Frank whenever I can, and I’m truly humbled to have his support,” Harrison said.

This isn’t the first time Reddick has endorsed Harrison in a state House election. Two years ago, when the Tampa Republican was up against Tampa City Councilor Lisa Montelione, Reddick was in Harrison’s corner. Other endorsements for Harrison have come in from the Florida Realtors, the Florida Police Benevolent Association and the Associated Industries of Florida.

To date, Harrison has raised $180,511 in hard money and has $106,890 of that cash in the bank. He also has another $130,410 on hand in his affiliated political committee, Committee for an Innovative Florida, for a total war chest of $237,300 at the end of August.

Driskell, meanwhile, has raised $146,650 for her campaign account and had $100,525 left to spend on Aug. 31. Her backers include Ruth’s List, an organization that helps Democratic women get elected.

HD 63 covers part of Hillsborough County, including portions of northern Tampa and the communities of Lutz, Pebble Creek, Lake Magdalene and Carrollwood. Democrats make up about 39 percent of the swing seat’s electorate, while Republicans hold a 32 percent share.

Harrison served in the House from 2010 to 2012, when former Democratic Rep. Mark Danish beat him by about 700 votes to flip the newly redrawn HD 63 despite raising less than $20,000 for his campaign compared to nearly $300,000 for Harrison.

Harrison reclaimed the seat in the 2014 cycle with a 5-point win over Danish, and in 2016 he emerged victorious in a tough re-election battle over Montelione. His sub 2-point victory came as Democrat Hillary Clinton carried the seat by double digits.

Election Day is Nov. 6.

Carlos Curbelo backs Javier Enriquez in HD 114

U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo is inserting himself into the race for House District 114, throwing his support behind Republican challenger Javier Enriquez.

“Javier Enriquez will be an outstanding state representative,” Curbelo said. “His deep roots in the community and his conservative vision that puts people over politics will serve District 114 well in Tallahassee.

‘I’m proud to support him, and I look forward to working with him.”

Enriquez, an attorney and graduate of the University of Miami School of Law, is competing against Democratic incumbent Javier Fernandez in HD 114. Fernandez took over the seat in May after winning a special election.

“I’m honored to have Congressman Curbelo’s support,” Enriquez said in response to the endorsement.

“He has distinguished himself as a strong leader for our region in Washington, and I look forward to partnering with him to provide the kind of effective leadership our fellow citizens deserve.”

The news of Curbelo’s backing comes after Enriquez pulled in endorsements from former U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart and current state Rep. and state Senate candidate Manny Diaz.

HD 114 covers parts of Miami-Dade County including West Miami and Cutler Bay. The district overlaps with Florida’s 26th Congressional District, which Curbelo currently represents.

Communications workers’ union backs Anna Eskamani

The Communications Workers of America Local 3108 is endorsing Democrat Anna Eskamani in the Florida House District 47 race, her campaign announced Monday.

The labor union represents telecommunications and information technology, the airline industry, news media, broadcast and cable television, education, health care and public service, law enforcement, manufacturing, and other fields.

“The hard-working men and women of the Communications Workers of America, Local 3108, have wholeheartedly thrown their support to the candidacy of Anna Eskamani for Florida House District 47,” Steve Wisniewski, president of CWA Local 3108, stated in a news release issued by Eskamani’s campaign.

“Anna has been a longtime friend of the CWA and has demonstrated that she shares our concerns, and our hopes, for a better future. She has the tenacity and determination to fight for the rights of working-class Floridians and to push forward in the struggle to provide better jobs, better schools, safer communities, and economic and social justice for the good people of Central Florida. Get out and vote, and encourage your family, friends, and neighbors to do the same, for Anna Eskamani for Florida House District 47,” he continued.

Eskamani faces Republican Stockton Reeves in the HD 47 race to represent north-central Orange County. Republican incumbent state Rep. Mike Miller is not seeking re-election.

“Our government from Washington, D.C., to Tallahassee has become an embarrassment because too many politicians care more about special interests than our working families. It doesn’t have to be this way,” Eskamani stated in the release. “I am honored to have the support of Communications Workers of America, Local 3108, and cannot wait to be a voice in the Florida House that protects our unions, and balances the needs of our workers, business owners, managers, and entrepreneurs.”

Julián Castro PAC backs Emma Collum in HD 93

Opportunity First, a PAC created by former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Julián Castro, has now thrown its support behind Democrat Emma Collum in House District 93.

Castro led HUD under the Barack Obama administration and has garnered buzz for a possible future presidential run. Now, his group has endorsed Collum in an effort to flip the HD 93 seat to the Democrats.

“Emma is a strong leader that will spur economic progress, protect our most sacred rights and be a model for inclusive leadership,” Castro said in a statement.

“At Opportunity First, we are dedicated to investing in and supporting young, progressive leaders who put people before politics. People like Emma. The candidates we’re supporting this November represent the future of the Democratic Party and showcase our collective vision for creating pathways to opportunity for all Americans.”

Florida House Victory, the campaign arm of the Florida House Democrats, also responded to the news, noting the effect the endorsement could have on races up and down the ballot.

“Emma Collum’s endorsement from Opportunity First proves that the success of local Democrats is tied to the success of Democrats as a whole,” said Marisol Samayoa, spokesperson for Florida House Victory.

“If we want to transform this country, we have to invest in the next generation of state house leaders in swing states like Florida.”

Collum ran unopposed in the HD 93 primary and is facing off against Republican Chip LaMarca and nonparty affiliated candidate Kelly Milam in the general election.

It’s an open race for this seat, as current GOP state Rep. George Moraitis is term-limited. The election will be held on Nov. 6.

Mike Hill

Mike Hill’s comeback bid needed every trick in the book

Florida’s primary elections had some shockers, none more so than the surprise win of Andrew Gillum in the Democratic primary for Governor.

Further down the ticket, in the Republican primary for Escambia County’s state House District 1, there was another big upset: Former state Rep. Mike Hill’s 3-point victory over rising GOP star Rebekah Bydlak.

Bydlak had outraised him, outspent him and had picked up the kind of endorsements that usually carry candidates through a GOP primary — the National Rifle Association and term-limited HD 1 Rep. Clay Ingram both endorsed her, and she had an “A” rating from the staunchly anti-abortion group Florida Right to Life.

Polling also indicated Bydlak was ahead of Hill and a look at the vote totals on the Escambia County Supervisor of Elections website shows Bylak held a 52-44 percent lead among early voters, and she and Hill were tied 48-48 percent with mail ballots included.

Hill won Election Day, however, by 5 percentage points. Milton Republican Lisa Doss nearly quadrupled her vote tally to take 9 percent of the ballots cast last Tuesday.

What happened?

Hill’s performance could all be due to his higher name recognition. HD 1 shares a border and media market with his old seat, HD 2, where he won a couple of elections. Two years ago, he also spent nearly $200,000 in campaign dollars running in the SD 1 Republican primary, where he lost by 14 points to now-Sen. Doug Broxson.

But the late break this year toward Hill could also be due to a string of deceitful mailers, disinformation, racially charged and sexist comments, shady campaign stunts and a fake endorsement from President Donald Trump in the closing days of the race.

Hill spent more than $25,000 in hard money on direct mail ads in the final weeks of the race, and nearly all of them smeared Bydlak.

One of Hill’s mailers featured a phony picture of Bydlak smiling alongside 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and claimed Bydlak had been “kicked out of the Republican Party,” didn’t own a house in HD 1, received $100,000 from a member of the anti-Trump establishment tied to billionaire liberal booster George Soros and that she was pro-choice and anti-gun despite her receiving recommendations from groups that would certainly take umbrage if she held those positions.

Another mailer claimed Bydlak and Republican U.S. Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan were attacking “conservatives like Mike Hill and President Trump,” and that Bydlak was trying to take down Confederate monuments in Pensacola — no small accusation in the deep-red Panhandle district.

In now-deleted social media posts, Hill also called attention to Amash’s Palestinian heritage, noteworthy because of Hill’s other statements about Islamic people. In early August, Hill tweeted about the “demonic Muslim horde” and retweeted a statement that “Islam is a cancer.”

Also on the list of social media tactics was the use of paid campaign staffers to blast Bydlak for her not having children.

“How can a girl make good solid choices on my children and grandchildren, when she has never raised a family?” Kelly White Seward asked in a Facebook post liked and shared by Hill. Florida Division of Elections records show Seward received $2,000 in payments from Hill’s campaign account during the 2018 cycle.

All the while, Hill has allowed racism to fester on his campaign’s official Facebook page, where his supporters have repeated Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis’ possibly misinterpreted “monkey” comment. More overt: Another supporter responded to a Facebook post Hill made criticizing Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum by saying the Tallahassee Mayor should be “picking cotton.”

While Hill was pouring money into the negative ads and stoking racial tensions, a committee tied to Clearwater Republican Rep. Chris Latvala paid thousands of dollars more for a slate of positive mailers pitching Hill as the “pro-life, pro-guns, pro-Jesus” candidate in the race.

One of the mailers paid for by Latvala’s Suncoast Better Government Committee features a faked picture of Hill next to Trump and strongly insinuates the President had endorsed him — laid over the top of the Hill-Trump photo is a label that says “I like Mike.”

Hill Trump - I Like Mike

Trump did say that phrase in an early August tweet during his spat with NBA superstar LeBron James. But it was an obvious reference to Michael Jordan, whom James is most often compared to in “best ever” arguments.

Hill quoted that tweet, calling it his Trump endorsement.

In a vacuum, that tweet could be viewed as a lighthearted joke, however, the mailers cast doubt on that and toe the line of what is considered legal campaign communications.

Under Florida law, it is illegal “for any candidate or person on behalf of a candidate to represent that any person or organization supports such candidate, unless the person or organization so represented has given specific approval in writing to the candidate to make such representation.” In English: Faking an endorsement is a crime.

If the mailers don’t cross a line, his odd last-minute livestream just might. The Facebook Live video features Hill standing in front of a Confederate monument holding a replica of Trump’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star and teetering between representing it as real and acknowledging it was fake.

“As you can see, Pensacola, I have the Trump star. We’re bringing it here to Pensacola. We’re going to lay it here. Trump is an awesome president and we’re going to show our support and respect for our President. Hollywood doesn’t want his star, we want it here,” Hill says, star in hand.

He then hedges his claim that the star is real by saying, if elected, he’ll “be able to do more to make sure that this star gets here and that it stays here.”

But he again purported to have the real-deal star in a Facebook post made after the livestream.

“We have President Trump’s Hollywood Star! Pensacola is America’s first settlement — where it all began. Fitting that we have our President’s star rejected by leftists. We will honor and protect it!” he wrote.

He used similar wording in an official campaign email sent via MailChimp that went out to the entire Escambia County absentee voter list.

“We have President Trump’s Hollywood Star! Pensacola is America’s first settlement  —where it all began. Fitting that we have our President’s star rejected by Hollywood. We will honor and protect it,” Hill said in the email.

Trump’s Hollywood star was destroyed. Twice. According to Ana Martinez, the Hollywood Walk of Fame’s producer and the vice president of media relations at the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Hill’s star isn’t the real thing.

“Oh, that’s a fake,” Martinez said after viewing a photo of the star. “They were destroyed with a pickaxe.”

Martinez added that the Hollywood Chamber is in possession of the emblem from the original star and that the second star was essentially reduced to dust — an individual attempted to sell one shard of that star on eBay for $500 but the auction was pulled for violating the site’s rules. A real Walk of Fame star weighs more than 300 pounds, Martinez added. Hill easily lifts his star in the video.

Martinez described Hill’s counterfeit star as an “infringement” and said that the matter would be referred for further investigation.

Just as bizarre as those Walk of Fame claims are statements made by Doss, who entered the primary race just days ahead of the qualifying deadline and raised no money outside of the self-contribution she used to pay the ballot fee. Though it is unconfirmed, there are rumors that Doss was recruited by Hill, who has never won a one-on-one race, to help split the vote in his favor.

Florida Politics attempted to contact Doss but received no response.

According to the financial disclosure she turned in to the Florida Division of Elections, her only income was a $1,248 Social Security disability check while her two bank accounts had a combined balance of $350 on June 18. However, her listed assets also included $3,100 in cash. She used that cash to open her campaign account, leading to an audit by the Division of Election for exceeding the limit on cash contributions. She was also dinged for not listing her occupation, which she later amended to be “disabled.”

Like Hill, Doss used MailChimp to send out her campaign emails while her campaign website, VoteDoss.com, was registered via the same Bulgarian-based web hosting company as Hill’s campaign site: SiteGround.us. Both Hill and Doss paid the $12 fee charged by the company to hide the information of who registered their respective websites, but the servers they are hosted on are in the same Chicago data center.

Hill’s domain was registered on Sept. 16, 2017, though he never reported any expenditures directly related to the website’s registration, creation or upkeep. Doss’ domain was registered on June 30, and the only expenditures she ever reported other than the ballot fee were $75.35 in payments to SiteGround for a “website” and “extra security for website.”

Suspicions were further raised given that Doss’ campaign emails and social media posts used oddly similar language and peddled the same conspiracies as Hill’s — namely that Bydlak was tied to Soros and that she did not own a house in the district.

The latter attack is true, though misleading. Bydlak rents a home within the district and her parents and grandparents also live in the district, same as the past nine generations of her family. The attack that she doesn’t own a home also obscures some history behind her political heritage — the first-ever meeting of the Florida Legislature was actually held within what is now HD 1 in the home of her fifth-great-grandfather, Don Manuel Gonzalez.

Doss also often referred to herself as the middle ground between Bydlak, whom she said was “too liberal,” and Hill, whom she said was “too conservative.” In such a red district, that statement would be more likely to benefit Hill and kneecap Bydlak than to help Doss.

Doss email

Additionally, Doss was a frequent poster on Hill’s social media pages. In one Facebook post she said that even though she wanted to win the primary election, it was more important that Bydlak lose.

“Even though I’m running against Mike Hill, I do know he is a good man!! I hope 2 win but if I don’t I sure hope Mike Hill does!! As a candidate myself I have done a lot of research on my opponents & the bunch funding Rebekah Bydlak I found out the same information on,” she wrote, referencing Hill’s Soros claims.

And when Doss’ birthday rolled around, Hill made sure to wish her the best.

doss birthday

In the end, the Republican primary came down to 542 votes out of the nearly 19,000 cast, and Hill’s victory virtually assures he’ll cruise back into the state House after drubbing Democratic nominee Vikki Garrett in November.

Bydlak, meanwhile, steps back into private life.

“If you want to know why principled conservatives don’t get involved in politics, you need only look at this race. If you want to know why conservative women run for office less frequently then men, take a look at how Mike Hill shamelessly lied to voters that Rebekah was pro-choice and anti-gun. He’s disgraceful and frankly unfit for public office,” said her husband, Jonathan Bydlak.

Mailers sent out by Hill’s campaign and the Suncoast Better Government Committee are below.

Mike Hill direct mail ads by Andrew Wilson on Scribd

Wayne Liebnitzky endorsed by former Puerto Rico senator

Republican congressional candidate Wayne Liebnitzky has received the endorsement of former Puerto Rico Sen. Miriam Ramirez in his quest to be elected in Florida’s 9th Congressional District, which has a large population of Puerto Rican residents, his campaign announced.

Ramirez, a medical doctor, had a long career in public health and politics in Puerto Rico including a term in the Puerto Rico Senate from 2000-’04, before moving to Florida. Most recently, until 2013, she served as Federal, Health and Legislative Affairs Advisor to then-San Juan Mayo Jorge Santini, Mayor of San Juan. She continues as an active advocate for Puerto Rico statehood from Florida.

In the Nov. 6 election, Liebnitzky, of St. Cloud, is facing Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, who in 2016 became the first Florida congressman of Puerto Rican heritage. Soto defeated Liebnitzky in that 2016 election.

CD 9 covers Osceola County, south Orange County and east Polk County, all areas with large and growing populations of Puerto Ricans. The area was ground zero for the migration of people fleeing Puerto Rico last year after Hurricane Maria devestated the island almost a year ago.

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