endorsement Archives - Page 2 of 60 - Florida Politics

Gwen Graham gets backing of Democrats’ disability caucus

The Florida Democratic Party Disability Caucus has endorsed Gwen Graham for Governor citing her unwavering commitment to individuals with disabilities, her campaign announced Tuesday.

“Gwen has demonstrated, in her past service, a strong commitment to individuals with disabilities regarding health care, education, community integration, criminal justice and voting rights,” Florida Democratic Disability Caucus President Karen Clay stated in a news release issued by Graham’s campaign.

The Disability Caucus provides representation for those with disabilities, both visible and invisible, and allies within the Florida Democratic Party.

Graham, the former congresswoman from Tallahassee, is battling with Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, businessman Jeff Greene, and businessman Chris King for the Aug. 28 Democratic primary nomination for Governor.

Graham’s announcement of the support comes the same day that Levine introduced his latest television commercial highlighting his commitment to helping people with disabilities.

Graham said in the news release, “I am proud to earn the endorsement of the Florida Democratic Disability Caucus. I strongly believe that all Floridians with disabilities should enjoy equal rights, independence, dignity, and freedom from abuse, neglect, and discrimination. As Governor, I will work with the caucus to expand care and lower costs for all Floridians.”

Anthony Rodriguez wins Central Florida endorsements for HD 118

Anthony Rodriguez, a Kendall business owner and Republican candidate for House District 118, has earned the support of several current House members as he tries to oust sitting Rep. Robert Asencio.

The Republican Delegation of Central Florida announced its support of Rodriguez, running unopposed in the HD 118 GOP primary.

The group is made up of state Reps. Bob Cortes, Scott Plakon, David Santiago, Danny Burgess, Jason Brodeur, Bobby Olszewski, Rene Plasencia, Mike LaRosa and Jennifer Sullivan.

Multiple members of the delegation also released statements on why they felt the need to weigh in the South Florida contest.

Cortes said, “As a family man and small business owner, he has the knowledge, energy and values necessary to effectively represent district 118 in Tallahassee.”

Plakon added: “Anthony is a lifelong Floridian who is not afraid to take on tough issues and understands the value of hard work.”

HD 118 covers sections of Miami-Dade County including parts of Kendall and Tamiami. Asencio is also unopposed in the Democratic primary, meaning he will face off against Rodriguez in November.

Of the Republican Delegation of Central Florida, Rodriguez said their “leadership has moved Florida forward and I can’t wait to join them in order to work on the issues that matter most to my district. I’m excited to have them on our team.”

The race could go either way. Asencio was able to barely squeak out a victory back in 2016, defeating his Republican opponent, David Rivera, 50.04 percent to 49.96 percent.

Greg Steube hits Julio Gonzalez for touting non-existent Rick Scott endorsement

Venice state Rep. Julio Gonzalez has been pushing an online ad backing up his campaign for Florida’s 17th Congressional District that features Gov. Rick Scott praising the Republican lawmaker and insinuating Gonzalez is his pick in the primary race to fill the seat being vacated by retiring U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney.

According to an article by Brenden Farrington the Associated Press, the 30-second spot features the term-limited Governor making some effusive remarks about Gonzalez, and ends with an announcer saying Scott “stands with” Gonzalez, and asks voters to “Join Governor Scott in support of pro-Trump, tax-cutting conservative Dr. Julio Gonzalez.”

Short of a nod from President Donald Trump, the official backing of Scott would be the biggest coup a Republican congressional candidate could hope for. The problem: It’s not true.

Those clips were from a fundraiser benefitting Scott’s U.S. Senate campaign, and while Scott is likely appreciative of Gonzalez’ support in his quest to oust Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, he hasn’t weighed in on the Republican primary for CD 17.

If it weren’t clear enough by the lack of endorsement-style language, the bottom of that AP article puts to rest any lingering doubts: “Scott’s campaign manager, Jackie Schultz, said Scott hasn’t endorsed in the race.”

Gonzalez’ chief rival in the Republican primary for CD 17, Sarasota state Sen. Greg Steube, seized on the misrepresentation in a Tuesday campaign email hammering Gonzalez

“Julio Gonzalez, candidate for Congress, has been falsely touting the support of Governor Rick Scott in an effort to boost his failing campaign,” the email read, citing the AP report.

“Last week, Gonzalez sent an email to supporters calling on them to ‘Join Governor Rick Scott in supporting Dr. Julio Gonzalez.’ His campaign then released a short video with footage from a recent rally for Scott’s U.S. Senate campaign. As of August 13, the video is being promoted online by the Gonzalez campaign.”

Similar to the recent drama in the race for House District 62, Gonzalez may be violating state elections laws depending on the language and images he used. In the HD 62 case, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor chastised School Board member Susan Valdes for using her picture in a campaign mailer that insinuated the congresswoman had endorsed Valdes, and went even further by alleging the act was a violation of Chapter 106.143(4) of the Florida Statutes.

Team Steube is doing the same in regards to Gonzalez’ ad.

The statute reads as follows: “It is unlawful 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.”

A violation of that rule can result in civil fees.

“This is the latest attempt to mislead the voters from a campaign that is desperately trying to revive itself,” said Alex Blair, Steube’s campaign manager. “First, they tried to dismiss Gonzalez’s Never Trump past, and now they are trying to mislead voters about Governor Scott’s support. I think the voters will see past the deceit and will support Greg Steube’s positive, pro-Trump, conservative vision for Congress.”

Gonzalez and Steube will be on the Aug. 28 primary ballot alongside little-known Republican Greg Akins. The winner of the GOP nomination will go up against the Democratic nominee — either April Freeman or Bill Pollard — in the Nov. 6 general election, though the Republican candidate will be the odds on favorite come Election Day.

CD 17 is a safe Republican seat that sprawls across parts of Sarasota, Lee and Polk counties as well as the whole of Charlotte, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Highlands and Okeechobee counties. Rooney has held the seat since it was redrawn ahead of the 2012 elections.

In 2016, Rooney won re-election over his Democratic challenger with 62 percent of the vote and Trump earned the same share of the vote at the top of the ticket.

Lincoln Diaz-Balart backs HD 114 candidate Javier Enriquez

Former U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart is throwing his support behind Javier Enriquez, as the Republican challenges Democrat Javier Fernandez in House District 114.

Diaz-Balart was a longtime fixture in Florida politics up through his retirement from the U.S. House in 2011. He spoke out in support of Enriquez in his bid to flip HD 114 for the Republicans.

“I’m proud to endorse Javier Enriquez,” Diaz-Balart said.

“He is a solid young leader who has proven his dedication to our community. Javier will be a strong voice for South Florida in Tallahassee.”

Diaz-Balart represented Florida’s 21st Congressional District from 1993 to 2011. His brother, Mario, currently represents Florida’s 25th Congressional District.

Prior to Diaz-Balart’s election to CD 21, he served in the state House from 1986 to 1989. That was followed by a stint in the Florida Senate from 1989 to 1992.

“It’s an honor to have Congressman Diaz-Balart’s support,” Enriquez said.

“He has been an outstanding public servant, and I appreciate the values and principles that have always infused his leadership in our area. I’m proud to have his endorsement, and I look forward to working with him and following the example of service he set.”

Diaz-Balart spoke out strongly against the Fidel Castro regime in Cuba during his time in Congress. He also authored the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act, which provides relief from deportation from asylees who arrived from Nicaragua, Guatemala and other countries.

Both Enriquez and Fernandez are unopposed in their respective primaries, setting up a contest between the two in November. Fernandez only recently took over the HD 114 seat, winning a special election in early May.

Matt Spritz HD 89 Republican candidate

Florida Medical Association recommends Matt Spritz in HD 89

The political arm of the Florida Medical Association (FMA) is backing attorney Matt Spritz in the GOP primary for House District 89.

Spritz, a Boca Raton Republican, is facing off against accountant Mike Caruso for the nomination. He now has the support of the FMA PAC, which calls itself “Florida’s leading advocate for electing pro-medicine candidates to office.”

“The FMA PAC is proud to endorse Matt Spritz in House District 89,” said Dr. Mike Patete, who serves as the group’s president.

“We worked with Matt as a legislative aide on the opioid legislation this past session and look forward to continuing working with him on health care issues as a member of the Florida House.”

The FMA represents Florida’s medical and osteopathic physicians.

“I am so proud to have the endorsement of the Florida Medical Association,” Spritz said.

“I look forward to working with the FMA in the legislature, on a variety of critical healthcare issues, for the benefit of all Floridians and physicians in our great state.”

Spritz is one of five candidates competing for the seat currently held by GOP state Rep. Bill Hager, who is term-limited. Ocean Ridge politician Jim Bonfiglio and real estate businessman Ryan Rossi filed to run on the Democratic side.

HD 89 runs up the coast of Palm Beach County. Its primary elections will be held Aug. 28.

NFIB back Tyler Sirois in HD 51 race

The National Federation of Independent Businesses is throwing its support behind Republican Tyler Sirois in the race for Florida House District 51, his campaign announced Tuesday.

Sirois, executive director of the Office of State Attorney for the 18th Judicial Circuit, faces Cocoa Mayor Henry Parrish in the Aug. 28 Republican primary. The winner faces Democrat Michael Blake, a teacher and former Cocoa mayor, in the Nov. 6 election.

“NFIB is proud to endorse candidates whose priorities align with those of the small business community,” Bill Herrle, NFIB’s executive director in Florida, stated in a news release issued Tuesday morning by Sirois’s campaign. “The candidates receiving NFIB’s endorsement have a proven track record of supporting small-business issues, and have committed to working with NFIB to help Florida maintain its pro-small-business climate.”

The contest is to succeed Republican state Rep. Tom Goodson to represent HD 51, which covers northeast Brevard County.

“Creating an environment where small business and entrepreneurship can thrive is critical to maintaining a strong Florida economy,” Sirois stated in the news release. “Returning vocational and technical training to our public schools will produce a workforce ready to participate in the small business sector. “

Arthenia Joyner backs Gwen Graham for Governor

Former Congresswoman Gwen Graham keeps picking up steam in the final stretch of the Democratic primary for Governor.

Fresh off a nod from Jimmy Buffett, the campaign followed up with an endorsement that’s more traditional, though no less impressive: former Senate Democratic Leader Arthenia Joyner.

“For too long, too many Floridians have been left behind by their governor and the politicians in Tallahassee. Our communities have been forgotten, our voting rights have been attacked and our civil rights weakened,” Joyner said. “Enough is enough. In 2018, we are going to reverse the trend and elect a Democrat who will fight for all Floridians — and that governor will be Gwen Graham.

“In Congress, Gwen cosponsored legislation to restore the Voting Rights Act. She has been a leading supporter of Amendment 4 to restore voting rights to returning citizens, and she has proposed comprehensive plans to expand voting rights and reform Florida’s criminal justice system,” Joyner said.

Joyner served in the state Legislature for 16 years beginning in 2000, though her impressive CV includes becoming the first black attorney in Polk County, the first black female attorney in Hillsborough County and the longest practicing black female lawyer in Florida history.

She is also a past president of the National Bar Association, holding that position from 1984-1995 and facing arrest during her tenure for protesting apartheid.

Additionally, Joyner also served on the 2017-18 Constitution Revision Commission.

“As a woman, Gwen understands the issues we face because she has lived them — but more than that, on Workdays and at roundtables, she has taken the time to get to know Floridians from all walks of life, to understand their challenges and present innovative solutions to help them,” Joyner said. “Gwen will work with leaders from every community to restore our public schools, protect our environment and expand health care.”

Joyner’s endorsement comes as Graham’s campaign for governor seems to have hit its stride — she showed nearly $1.5 million in new money in her most recent fundraising report, and in nearly every recent poll, the North Florida Democrat has posted a solid lead in the five-way race.

“Senator Arthenia Joyner is a living legend and trailblazer. She has dedicated her life to fighting for Florida families — and it is an honor to have her support,” Graham said. “As governor, I will work hand in hand with Senator Joyner to expand voting rights, invest more in every public school, ban oil drilling off our beaches, and finally expand health care for almost 1 million Floridians. Together, we will bring decency, respect and progress back to our state’s capital.

Graham faces Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene, Orlando area businessman Chris King and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine in the Aug. 28 primary race.

The winner of the Democratic nomination will face either U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis or Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam on the November ballot.

Karen Skyers

LGBTA group endorses Karen Skyers for HD 61

The Hillsborough County LGBTA Democratic Caucus announced over the weekend that it was endorsing attorney Karen Skyers in the crowded Democratic primary to fill Tampa-based House District 61, which is open due to current Rep. Sean Shaw’s Attorney General bid.

“We are proud to support your efforts toward full equality for LGBTA Floridians and look forward to working with you toward that goal,” the caucus said.

The caucus’ mission is to “foster good will between gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and allied members of the Democratic Party and the community at large; continue to work with other GLBT and like-minded organizations united with a common purpose; seek individual freedom in the framework of a just society; and seek political freedom in the framework of meaningful participation by all citizens.”

The endorsement sees Skyers join some elite company — so far this cycle, only incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and Valrico Democrat Andrew Learned, who is running for Florida’s 15th Congressional District have earned the caucus’ endorsement. The new backer adds to a list that already includes Shaw and Ruth’s List Florida, a Democratic Party-aligned group that supports female candidates for public office.

“I am thankful to the Hillsborough County LGBTA Caucus for their endorsement. Once again, we are reminded that #lovewins. I will champion for equality and laws that protect all of the people, not some of the people,” Skyers said.

Skyers is up against Dianne HartNorman Harris and Sharon Carter in the Democratic primary. The winner of that contest will be Shaw’s de facto replacement in the Tampa-based Democratic stronghold, though they will be nominally opposed by write-in candidate Valion Joyce in November.

Florida law allows all voters to participate in primary elections if all candidates are members of the same party, however Joyce’s entry into the race nullifies that rule. HD 61 is one of five state legislative districts this cycle that had its primary locked down by a write-in candidate.

As of Aug. 3, Skyers led in overall fundraising with more than $70,000 raised, though her $13,290 cash on hand puts her behind Hart, who was the second-place finisher in the 2016 Democratic primary for the seat, losing to Shaw by 101 votes.

She’s raised about $33,000 and kicked in $15,000 in candidate loans for an on-hand tally of nearly $31,000 on Aug. 3. Through the same date, Harris had raised $20,435 and had $3,067 at the ready while Carter had raised $5,345, half of it loans, and had $439 in her campaign account.

HD 61 covers downtown Tampa, Ybor City, and Seminole Heights. Democrats hold an overwhelming advantage at the polls.

Physicians PAC backs Michael Grieco for HD 113

Former Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Grieco has earned the support of the Florida Medical Association (FMA), a powerhouse health care group, as he competes for the Democratic nomination in House District 113.

The group’s political arm announced its support of Grieco on Monday, electing to bypass his Democratic opponents, attorney Kubs Lalchandani and fellow former Miami Beach Commissioner Deede Weithorn.

“Mr. Grieco has a proven record of working hard for his constituents and we look forward to working with him to enhance and improve health care for Florida patients,” said Mike Patete, president of the FMA PAC.

The FMA represents medical and osteopathic physicians throughout the state. The group’s PAC raised more than $2.3 million during the 2016 election cycle.

“We are honored to receive FMA’s endorsement,” Grieco said.

“As the son of an M.D. and a longtime member of both the Mount Sinai and Nicklaus Children’s Hospitals Foundations, I promise to not let the medical community down in Tallahassee.”

The trio of Democrats is running to replace state Rep. David Richardson, who is pursuing a bid for the U.S. House in Florida’s 27th Congressional District. HD 113 covers parts of Miami-Dade County including Miami Beach and North Bay Village

The winning of the Democratic primary will face off against lawyer and entrepreneur Jonathan Parker in the general election, as Parker is running unopposed on the GOP side. The primary will take place on Aug. 28.

Nurses’ union backs Darren Soto in CD 9 race

Democratic U.S. Rep. Darren Soto has picked up another endorsement from a reliable Democratic ally in his battle with his predecessor former U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson for the party primary in Florida’s 9th Congressional District.

National Nurses United, the largest organization of registered nurses in the country, has endorsed Soto, his campaign announced Monday.

In its endorsement letter, the union said Soto “embodies nurses’ values of caring, compassion and community.”

The winner of the Soto-Grayson primary faces Republican Wayne Liebnitzky in the Nov. 6 election. The district covers south Orange County, Osceola County and east Polk County.

“I’m honored to have the support of nurses in our community and nationwide. We must care for the caregivers,” Soto stated in a news release from his campaign. “Nurses, like all workers, deserve wages that can support a family, safe working conditions, and the right to unionize and bargain collectively. Throughout my career, I’ve fought for the working people of Central Florida, and I’m proud to be supported by many unions including the Florida AFL-CIO.”

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