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Daphne Campbell

Daphne Campbell adds seven local endorsements for SD 38 re-election bid

Incumbent Democrat Daphne Campbell has received another stack of local endorsements in her campaign for a second term in Miami-Dade based Senate District 38.

Announcing their support for Campbell are Golden Beach Mayor Glenn Singer, Biscayne Park Mayor Tracy Truppman, El Portal Mayor Claudia Cubillos, Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam, North Bay Village Vice Mayor Adreana Jackson, Miami Gardens Vice Mayor Erhabor Ighodaro and Miramar Vice Mayor Yvette Colbourne.

“Senator Campbell has been a longtime friend and advocate of the town of Golden Beach. She works diligently to help the residents of our communities, and all the communities she represents, to receive the necessary means by which to flourish and prosper. We are fortunate to have her represent our Town,” Singer said in a news release.

The local endorsements add to the suite of supporters lining up behind Campbell as she looks to stave off challenger Jason Pizzo, a former prosecutor who took second place in a crowded SD 38 Democratic primary two years ago. Past endorsements for Campbell include a dozen of her colleagues in the Legislature, among them incoming Senate Minority Leader Audrey Gibson and incoming House Minority Leader Kionne McGhee.

“Local mayors are the backbone of strong communities across the state of Florida. I am happy to have the support of such a strong group of mayors, that recognize the strong leadership and experience that I offer representing their communities in Tallahassee,” Campbell said.

“I look forward to continuing to be a vocal advocate for the cities I represent, while also focusing on issues that are important to the residents of district 38 like better-paying jobs, increased public school funding, and affordable health care for all.”

Campbell was elected to SD 38 in 2016. She received 31 percent of the vote in the six-way primary compared to 24 percent for Pizzo, a difference of 2,129 votes. She later won the general election in the Democratic stronghold after taking 75 percent of the vote against unaffiliated candidate Phillip Brutus.

As of Thursday, Campbell and Pizzo are the only candidates who have filed for the 2018 race. The qualifying period for candidates to make the ballot begins Monday and ends at noon on June 22.

Pizzo currently leads the money race with $193,000 raised and more than $100,000 on hand, including $100,000 in loans. Campbell has raised a little over $92,000 and started June with $29,800 on hand. Her total has not been bolstered by any candidate loans.

The primary election is Aug. 28.

Clean energy advocacy group backs Carlos Curbelo re-election bid

Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES) is supporting Carlos Curbelo‘s re-election campaign in Florida’s 26th Congressional District.

The Washington D.C.-based advocacy group seeks to advance clean energy policy by identifying and supporting Republicans who advocate for clean energy measures in Congress.

CRES Managing Director Heather Reams spoke about Curbelo’s efforts in this area in a statement announcing the endorsement. “Rep. Carlos Curbelo has made focusing on common-sense, clean energy solutions that grow the economy, strengthen America’s national security, and preserve the quality of our natural environment a hallmark of his time in the House.”

She continued, “Rep. Curbelo has demonstrated a commitment to promoting clean energy technology as a member of the House Clean Energy and Innovation Working Group. CRES is proud to formally endorse Carlos Curbelo in his re-election bid for U.S. House in Florida’s 26th District.”

Curbelo is facing off against Souraya Faas in the Republican primary for CD 26. Demetrius Andrew Grimes and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell are competing for the Democratic nomination.

“In South Florida, issues like sea level rise and water quality aren’t just about our environment,” said Curbelo following news of the endorsement. “They’re essential to our way of life and the continued growth and viability of our economy.”

He added, “I’m proud of my work to break through the polarization and build bipartisan consensus on renewable energy development and new technologies. These efforts will directly address the threats climate change and sea level rise pose to our local and national environment. I am honored to have the endorsement of Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions and look forward to continuing this important work.”

Curbelo clearly hopes to win over some left-leaning voters who view climate change as a high-priority issue. He’ll need to do so if he wishes to hold on to his seat. The Cook Political Report rates the race as a toss-up.

Toby Overdorf keeps fundraising lead, adds two new endorsements in HD 83 race

Treasure Coast businessman Toby Overdorf is adding two new endorsements to his campaign for House District 83 after Rep. Tom Rooney and Martin County Commissioner Doug Smith announced their support. Overdorf is also holding a money lead despite a strong fundraising month from Republican primary opponent Sasha Dadan.

Smith is serving his fifth term on the Martin County Commission. He was first elected back in 2000. He has also served as the president of the Florida Association of Counties. Smith had high praise for Overdorf’s bid to replace term-limited Rep. Gayle Harrell in HD 83.

“I’ve watched him help create jobs and serve our community for years,” said Rooney of Overdorf. “He will be an invaluable asset to District 83 in Tallahassee.”

“I’m proud to support Toby Overdorf,” added Smith. “He is a reliable and experienced leader who will help keep Florida headed in the right direction. He will be an excellent addition to the Florida House of Representatives, and I look forward to working with him.”

Smith is the latest local lawmaker to back Overdorf’s bid, as he recently received support from Port St. Lucie Councilwoman Stephanie Morgan. Overdorf thanked both Smith and Rooney for their support in an announcement following the news.

“It’s an honor to have Congressman Rooney on our team,” said Overdorf.

He added of Commissioner Smith, “He has provided strong leadership in this community for many years.”

May fundraising reports for the race were also released, showing Overdorf earning more than $5,000 in donations last month.

But his opponent, Dadan, nearly tripled Overdorf’s May haul, pulling in $15,000 in just 11 days. Almost all of that remains available. That’s more money than Overdorf has earned in a month since he brought in more than $21,000 back in November.

However, Overdorf has been in this contest for a while, filing all the way back in March 2017. Dadan only entered the race on May 21 of this year. That’s allowed Overdorf to earn more overall, crossing the $70,000 mark with more than $40,000 still on hand. It remains to be seen whether Dadan can catch him in the money race.

The two will face off in the HD 83 Republican primary on August 28.

New Florida Majority endorses Andrew Gillum in governor’s race

The New Florida Majority, the progressive organization focused on racial justice that co-sponsored Monday’s Democratic gubernatorial candidates debate, has endorsed Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum for governor.

The 501[c][4] organization‘s board unanimously ratified a committee decision to endorse Gillum Tuesday, a few hours after he, former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, and Winter Park entrepreneur Chris King took part in the Florida Freedom Forum Gubernatorial Debate at the Miramar Cultural Center Monday night.

“We looked at the candidates, their answers to our survey and their performance at tonight’s debate and determined that Andrew Gillum is the leader Florida needs to guide the state towards a more equitable future,” NewFM Executive Director Andrea Mercado stated in a news release. “His performance today and his campaign so far has proven that he is willing to be bold and unapologetic in standing up for our communities.”

Gillum was the clear favorite among the Spanish and English speaking New Florida Majority endorsement committee who assembled Monday night, according to the organization’s press release.

Lee Mangold gets AFL-CIO endorsement in HD 28 race

Democratic state House candidate Lee Mangold has received the endorsement of the Florida AFL-CIO in his quest to be elected in Florida’s House District 28.

Mangold, who founded and runs a cybersecurity business and is an adjunct professor at the University of Central Florida, is a unionized member of the United Faculty of Florida, Florida Education Association, National Education Association, and AFL-CIO.

He offered a strong advocacy of unions.

“I’m honored to receive this endorsement from Florida AFL-CIO, and I’m proud to be a voice for the hard-working men and women in this state,” Mangold stated in a news release issued by his campaign. “Unions ensure that employees have a collective voice in the organizations they serve; unions ensure that employees are treated fairly; unions ensure that employees get a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work. To suggest otherwise ignores the positive impacts unions have had on this country and the lives of working people and families across the US. I’m looking forward to voting against any attempts to compromise our unions here in Florida.“

Mangold, of Casselberry, faces Republican David Smith of Winter Springs in the HD 28 contest, covering northeast Seminole County. The incumbent, Republican state Rep. Jason Brodeur, is not seeking re-election.

Through the end of May Mangold has raised about $20,000, including $10,000 he lent to his campaign, and has spent all but about $5,000 of that, according to the latest campaign finance reports posted by the Florida Division of Elections. Smith has raised nearly $200,000, and had about $150,000 of that in the bank at the end of May.

Matt Matin withdraws from HD 44 race, endorses Melanie Gold

Democrat Matt Matin is withdrawing from the race for the House District 44 Democratic primary and has thrown his support behind activist Margaret Melanie Gold.

“I feel like she’s for the same things I am for, and I think she’d be a great representative in Tallahassee,” Matin said on Tuesday.

Matin’s exit leaves three Democrats vying in the August 28 Democratic primary for the chance to take on Republican state Rep. Bobby Olszewski in HD 44, serving southwest Orange County. The others include Gold, former state Sen. Geraldine Thompson, and businessman Eddy Dominguez, who lost to Olszewski in a special election last October.

Matin, a real estate agent and former urban planner, is the second Democrat to withdraw, following Dawn Antonis, who dropped out in February.

He said he concluded that he could not commit the time and energy to a full-time campaign — not with a two-year old son back home — and he decided he should not run if he wasn’t making it a top priority in his life. With that, he determined that Gold deserved his support.

“I am humbled to have earned the support of Matthew Matin. Matthew has proven to be an honorable man throughout the primary process. His ideas and ideals are a clear reflection of his character and how much he loves our community,” Gold stated in a news release issued by her campaign. “With his support, I aim to prove that only together will we be able to take back District 44 and make government accountable to the people.”

Gold, known to her friends as Melanie, has operated her own stock brokerage and money management company and hosted a call-in talk show. Since moving to the Windermere area she established herself as an outspoken public leader and community activist advocating on behalf of healthcare, education, and gun safety. She also was a leader of weekly protests of Republican policies that took place outside of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio‘s office in downtown Orlando.

Matin actually was the leader among HD 44 Democratic candidates in money raised from contributors, having attracted $13,748 since he entered the race in October, shortly after Olszewski took office. Matin also lent his campaign $1,070, and had $13,376 left at the end of May. Matin said he was proud he ran a lean campaign and is glad he can return most of the money to contributors, on a pro-rata basis.

Gold is the overall campaign money leader among Democrats, thanks to $30,000 she donated to her campaign. She also has raised $7,331. She entered June with $28,358 in the bank.

Thompson, who entered the race in April, has raised $11,935, including $4,000 she lent her campaign. She entered May with $6,142 in the bank.

Dominguez has raised $16,600, including $12,000 he lent to his campaign. He also drew nearly $24,000 in in-kind contributions of staff time, mainly from the Florida Democratic Party, assisting the candidate who agreed to step up at the last minute last fall to give Olszewski a challenge. Dominguez entered June with about $5,317 in the bank.

Olszewski, on the other hand, has raised $91,900, including $20,600 in May. He entered June with $74,977 cash in hand.

Former Polk County sheriff backs Neil Combee for CD 15

Auburndale Republican Neil Combee has added another Polk County backer in his campaign to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross in Florida’s 15th Congressional District.

Former Polk County Sheriff Lawrence Crow on Monday joined a dozen other current and former Polk County officials in endorsing Combee, a former state representative and Polk County commissioner.

“I’ve known and worked with the Combee family for decades having served with Neil’s father in the Lakeland Police force. I can say without a doubt, Neil Combee has the honesty and integrity to represent the values of the hard working people of this Congressional district. As a former Sheriff I trust Neil Combee to uphold the Constitution, respect our sworn law enforcement officers and keep the United States a place where the rule of law matters,” said Crow, who served as Polk Sheriff from 1987 until his retirement in 2005.

Crow’s endorsement is the 21st for the Combee campaign since he announced his CD 15 run in mid-April. In addition to the dozen Polk County nods, Combee has picked up a handful of endorsements from Hillsborough County and Lake County elected officials.

“I’m proud to have this endorsement from Fmr. Sheriff Crow. It is humbling to have the support of several law enforcement leaders in the district, and I will work everyday in Washington to make sure they have the support they need to successfully protect and defend us,” Combee said.

Combee faces Dover state Rep. Ross SpanoSean HarperDanny KushmerCurt Rogers and Ed Shoemaker in the Republican Primary. Also running for the seat are Democrats Kristen CarlsonAndrew Learned and Ray Pena as well as three write-in candidates.

A poll from late last month showed Spano leading Combee in the crowded primary 29-23 with one third undecided. None of the other Republican candidates cracked 5 percent support in that poll.

About half of CD 15’s Republican voters live in Hillsborough County and another two-fifths live in Polk while a small slice lives in Lake County. The district is rated “likely Republican” by Sabato’s Crystal Ball, the prediction newsletter from University of Virginia political science professor Larry Sabato.

Florida Hispanic chamber endorses Rob Panepinto for Orange County mayor

Citing his plans to help businesses and families, the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has endorsed Rob Panepinto for Orange County mayor.

The chamber released the endorsement in video form, as FSHCoC Founder and President Julio Fuentes extolled the Winter Park entrepreneur and former president of the Orlando chamber of commerce as someone who “understands what it takes to build a business and create jobs.”

Panepinto faces Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings, Orange County Commissioner Pete Clarke, and three other candidates in the August 28, non-partisan contest for Orange County mayor. If no gets more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two go on to a runoff in November.

“He has a plan in addressing the major issues facing businesses and families,” Fuentes says of Panepinto in the video. “And he will work to make Orange County even better.”

Jason Brodeur endorses David Smith as HD 28 successor

Term-limited state Rep. Jason Brodeur has endorsed fellow Republican David Smith to succeed him in Seminole County based House District 28.

“I’m proud to endorse David Smith in his campaign to serve the community I’ve been blessed to represent for the past 8 years,” Brodeur said in a press release. “David is a natural born leader and a true patriot who I know will be a great Representative for our community.”

Brodeur joins a long list of Republican pols backing Smith’s campaign, including Reps. Bob Cortes and Scott Plakon who also represent parts of Seminole County in the House.

 “I’m honored to have the support of Representative Brodeur,” Smith said. “His hard work and commitment to our community has left it a better place for many families and businesses. I look forward to advancing the service and leadership he has provided our community.”

Smith, a retired U.S. Marine Corps colonel, is currently the only Republican running in the GOP-leaning district. Assuming no other candidates file before the end of the qualifying period on June 22, the Nov. 6 general election see Smith face off against Democrat Lee Mangold.

Smith holds a massive lead in the money race. He started May with about $146,000 banked compared to $14,417 on hand for Mangold.

HD 28 covers part of northeastern Seminole County, including Sanford, Winter Springs, Casselberry and Oviedo. Republican voters make up nearly 40 percent of the electorate in the Central Florida district, compared to a 33 percent share for Democrats.

Brodeur was elected to the old HD 33 in 2010. He has only faced third-party candidates in his three re-election campaigns since redistricting placed him in HD 28, winning each with around two-thirds of the vote. The seat voted plus-4 for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

Tina Polsky adds five backers in HD 81 bid

Boca Raton Democrat Tina Polsky rolled out five more endorsements Monday in her bid to replace retiring state Rep. Joe Abruzzo in House District 81.

Topping the announcement was a nod from incoming House Democratic Leader Kionne McGhee, followed by Palm Beach County Commissioners Mary Lou Berger and Melissa McKinlay, Royal Palm Beach Rep. Matt Willhite, and former Palm Beach County Commissioner Burt Aaronson.

“I’m excited by the prospect of Tina joining the Democratic Caucus in Tallahassee as we continue our fight to implement an agenda benefiting the people — not the special interests. I look forward to working with her to fight for world-class healthcare, excellent public schools and universities, and high-paying jobs for all Floridians,” McGhee said.

McKinlay added: “Palm Beach County needs Tina’s leadership in order to ensure our many diverse communities remain exceptional places to live, work, raise children, and retire.  I’m endorsing her candidacy because I know she has what it takes to deliver substantive results.”

The new backers join U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch and Alcee Hastings, several western Palm Beach County elected officials and Abruzzo, who offered his support to Polsky a month ago.

“This is my first run for office and I consider myself truly blessed to have earned the backing of such a wide-ranging and well-respected group of public servants. I’ll be fortunate to have them not only as colleagues, but also as mentors and partners in the mission to improve life for everyone in our state.”

Polsky faces Mindy Koch in the Democratic primary for the solid-blue seat.

HD 81 covers a portion of Palm Beach County including the communities of Belle Glade, Pahokee and Parkland.

The primary election is Aug. 28.

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