endorsement – Page 5 – Florida Politics

Virginia Gardens mayor latest to back Manny Diaz Senate bid

A seventh South Florida mayor is endorsing Manny Diaz in his bid for Senate District 36.

Virginia Gardens Mayor Spencer Deno IV became the latest to throw support behind the Diaz campaign.

Diaz is looking to make a move to the Senate after representing House District 103 since 2012.

Deno says he’s the right man for the job: “Manny Diaz is a strong leader whose commitment to our community has served us very well.”

“In the Florida House, Manny has demonstrated his commitment to improving Florida’s education system as well as addressing practical local and constituent concerns. I am confident he will continue to serve with the same tenacity and dedication to our community in the Florida Senate.”

Deno was the youngest mayor ever elected in Virginia Gardens; he worked for the United States Postal Service for 20 years.

SD 36 covers portions of Broward and Miami-Dade counties. So far, Diaz has earned the support of seven mayors from Miami-Dade County including the mayors of Miami, Hialeah and Doral. Diaz was also recently endorsed by term-limited state Sen. Rene Garcia, who Diaz is running to replace.

The seat is all but a sure thing for Diaz unless another big name decides to challenge the Republican. Diaz has brought in more than $500,000 to his campaign. The only other entrant into the race, Democrat Muhammad Amin, has not declared any fundraising information with the Division of Elections.

Diaz doesn’t appear to be taking anything for granted, however. He’s continuing to court support from South Florida officials, resulting in this latest endorsement from Mayor Deno.

“I am honored to receive Mayor Deno’s endorsement,” said Diaz. “He has served Virginia Gardens very well for many years, and I am grateful to have him join our team. I look forward to continuing our partnership in improving the communities we are privileged to call home.”

Martin County’s top cop backs Gayle Harrell for SD 25

Martin County Sheriff William Snyder on Thursday endorsed Stuart Rep. Gayle Harrell in the Republican Primary for Senate District 25.

“Gayle has deep roots in our community, has a proven record of success fighting for our priorities and is a true conservative. She believes and will stand up for the rule of law,” Snyder said. “I have known and worked with Representative Harrell for years. She is without a doubt the most-qualified to continue the legacy of exceptional representation in the Florida Senate that our community has enjoyed.”

Harrell accepted the endorsement, “I am thrilled to have the support of Sheriff Snyder and share his commitment to public safety in Martin County and throughout the Treasure Coast.”

Senate District 25 wasn’t scheduled to open up until 2020, however Senate President Joe Negron announced he would leave the chamber two years early. His decision prompted Gov. Rick Scott to call a special election, to be held concurrently with regularly scheduled 2018 election, to fill out the remainder of Negron’s term.

Negron has since announced his support for Harrell, as have former Senate President Ken Pruitt and the Florida Medical Association.

Harrell faces Belinda Keiser, vice chancellor of Keiser University, in the Republican Primary. Stuart Democrat Rob Levy is also running for the seat

SD 25 includes the whole of Martin and St. Lucie counties, where Harrell has held elected office for 16 of the past 18 years, as well as part of Palm Beach County. The district is safely Republican — Negron was re-elected with nearly two-thirds of the vote in the 2016 cycle.

The primary election is Aug. 28. The general election is Nov. 6.

Denise Grimsley

Senate leaders back Denise Grimsley for Ag Commissioner

Sebring Sen. Denise Grimsley bid to be Florida’s next Commissioner of Agriculture has earned the backing of incoming Senate President Bill Galvano and Senate Majority Leader Wilton Simpson.

“Senator Grimsley is uniquely qualified to be the state’s next Agriculture Commissioner, not only because of her extensive background in citrus growing and cattle ranching, but because she brings a unique experience of running a business and an administration — all while navigating government red tape,” Galvano said Wednesday.

“I have no doubt that Denise Grimsley will bring her no-nonsense work ethic and her commitment to the State of Florida as a whole to work every day. I look forward to giving her campaign my full support.”

Simpson, whose job outside of politics is running a major chicken farm, said Grimsley “is the type of Floridian who runs for higher office not because she wants to, but because she knows the state needs her. Denise is a standout candidate in the Republican primary because of her hands-on experience and real-life know-how. I am proud to endorse Denise for Agriculture Commissioner and will vigorously help her campaign for this post.”

Galvano and Simpson are the latest in a string of endorsements announced by Grimsley in recent weeks. They join 18 county sheriffs, including four who announced their endorsements last week.

“I am honored Senate President-designate Galvano and Majority Leader Simpson have endorsed my campaign to be Florida’s next Commissioner of Agriculture,” said Senator Grimsley. “During my time in the Florida Senate, I had the privilege of working alongside these leaders to better our great state, and I am grateful they’ve recognized me as the person best fit to lead the Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services on behalf of Floridians.”

Grimsley, a nurse by trade, built her agribusiness credentials running her family’s citrus and cattle operations.

She was elected to the Senate in 2012 after serving four terms in the Florida House. She is one of the leading candidates to replace current Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who is term-limited and running for Governor.

Republican candidate Marc Vann with HD 10 Rep. Elizabeth Porter

Marc Vann gets retailer backing in HD 10

The Florida Retail Federation is endorsing one of its own in the race to succeed term-limited Republican Rep. Elizabeth Porter in House District 10.

The statewide trade association announced Wednesday that it is backing Republican Marc Vann in the race, citing his experience running a retail business.

“As a small business owner whose store has been serving its customers for more than 70 years, Marc knows what it takes to successfully run and maintain a retail business, and will do his part to help other retailers like him,” said FRF president and CEO R. Scott Shalley. “Marc has the experience and knowledge to make a difference in the Florida House for Sunshine State retailers.”

Vann, who co-owns Vann Carpet One in Lake City, has also been endorsed by Porter. His wife, Sheree Vann, has worked as Porter’s district secretary since 2014.

He faces Benjamin Leon and Chuck Brannan III in the Republican Primary for the North Central Florida seat. Whoever emerges from the Aug. 28 contest will move on to what could be a four-way race against Democrat Evan Tharpe Leslie and unaffiliated candidates Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson and Fred Martin.

As of April 30, Vann led in fundraising with $54,730 raised since filing in October and $44,814 in the bank. Brannan has a little over $52,000 banked, though that includes $25,000 in candidate loans. Malwitz-Jipson is the only other candidate to have shown signs of life on the fundraising trail — she has just shy of $1,100 on hand.

Those three have also gathered enough signatures to make the 2018 ballot by petition.

HD 10 covers the whole of Baker, Columbia, Hamilton and Suwannee counties as well as a small piece of northwestern Alachua. Outside of the Panhandle, the seat is one of the most reliable Republicans strongholds in the state House.

Nation’s largest public employee trade union backs Jason Pizzo for SD 38

Support for Jason Pizzo‘s primary challenge to state Sen. Daphne Campbell continues to pour in, as the nation’s largest public employee trade union has now endorsed Pizzo’s bid.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) announced it is backing Pizzo. AFSCME has more than 1.6 million working and retired members according to its website.

The organization represents workers from a diverse set of fields including nurses, corrections officers, and sanitation workers.

Pizzo promised to fight for AFSCME’s goals after receiving news of the endorsement.

“Our public employees work tirelessly to serve the state of Florida and deserve a champion who is fighting for them, not the special interests and well-connected,” Pizzo said. “Together with AFSCME’s support, we will stem the anti-labor legislation that has hindered our state for far too long.”

Pizzo decided to challenge Campbell for the Senate District 38 seat after finishing second place behind Campbell in the 2016 Democratic primary. As of now the winner of the primary will take over the seat, as no other candidates have officially filed to run.

Ketha Otis, who chairs AFSCME’s PEOPLE program for South Florida, explained why Pizzo is the organization’s preferred candidate.

“After reviewing where Jason stands on the issues that are most important to our members, we believe he is the best choice for our families, our communities, and those we serve,” said Otis. “We appreciate and recognize his past dedication to issues that affect working families.”

The AFSCME announcement is the latest in a long line of endorsements for Pizzo, a former federal prosecutor who currently works as an attorney in Miami. Earlier this month he nabbed endorsements from several South Florida mayors. SD 38 covers a portion of northeast Miami-Dade County.

Pizzo seems confident that with the backing of the AFSCME, he’ll be able to come out on top this time against Campbell.

“A dedication to service has been a part of my life since as long as I can remember,” said Pizzo. “With today’s endorsement, I’m recommitted to the fight for every working family in District 38 and beyond.”

The Democratic primary for SD 38 will be Aug. 28.

Progressive Democrats of America back David Richardson in CD 27

Current state Rep. David Richardson has positioned himself as one of the more progressive candidates in the Democratic primary for Florida’s 27th Congressional District. His latest endorsement makes that pitch even stronger.

Progressive Democrats of America has announced support for Richardson’s bid. The advocacy group was founded in 2004 and has chapters in 26 states across the U.S. and seeks out candidates “who are demonstrably progressive.”

“It is an honor to be recognized for my progressive bona fides by the one and only Progressive Democrats of America,” said Richardson. “From the first day of my campaign, I have supported Medicare-for-All and a comprehensive progressive platform that will reverse years of disastrous Republican rule.”

Indeed, Richardson has made note of that platform in three ads released last week. Each targets former University of Miami President Donna Shalala, who is also running for the Democratic nomination in CD 27.

In the ads, Richardson paints himself as a “courageous progressive” while hammering Shalala for past donations to Republicans, her time serving on the board of UnitedHealth and other issues seeking to paint Shalala as insufficiently liberal.

However, all five Democratic CD 27 candidates were universal in their support for progressive policies at a recent primary debate. That has complicated Richardson’s push to paint himself as the best progressive option in the race.

Richardson can now use this latest endorsement, along with continued emphasis on his record, to continue to make the case to voters that he is the man to take over for retiring Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

“With Donald Trump in the White House, it is now more important than ever that we say ‘no’ to corporate Democrats and elect courageous Progressives in Congress,” said Richardson after the endorsement was announced.

Richardson is a retired forensic auditor and one of Florida’s first openly gay state legislators. In the past he’s pushed for Medicare-for-all, stricter gun control measures, and reform of private prisons.

The CD 27 primary will be held Aug. 28.

Anna Eskamani gains backing of national Iranian-American group

Democrat Anna Eskamani, a proud daughter of Iranian immigrants, has received the backing of the national Iranian-American Political Action Committee in her quest for the Florida House District 47 seat, her campaign announced Wednesday.

The PAC is the political action arm of the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian-Americans, and promotes and contributes to the elections of candidates “who work to foster greater understanding between the people of Iran and the United States.”

“A daughter of immigrants from Iran, Anna’s life story epitomizes American principles and values of hard work, perseverance, equality, and commitment to family,” IAPAC Political Director Morad Ghorban stated in a news release issued by Eskamani’s campaign. “A proven leader and advocate, she has worked tirelessly to help people in her community. We have full confidence that Anna’s passion for public service, commitment to understanding the issues, and finding common ground will get results for the state of Florida. As an organization that encourages Iranian Americans to actively participate in the democratic process and to give back to America as it has given to us, we are extremely proud to endorse Anna Eskamani for Florida House District 47.”

Eskamani will face the winner of the August 28 Republican primary, Orlando lawyer Mikaela Nix or Winter Park businessman Stockton Reeves VI, in the November election for HD 47, which covers north and central Orange County. They seek to succeed state Rep. Mike Miller, who is running for Congress.

Eskamani’s mother was born in Tehran, Iran, and her father in Tabriz, Iran. They came to the United States separately and met in Orlando.

The news release said she still has “a great deal of family still in Iran, family who have been impacted directly by [President Donald] Trump’s Muslim [immigration] ban.”

“Both of my parents were born in Iran, but they made Orlando their home. We are a nation of immigrants, and my family’s story is not unlike those of other Americans. My personal identity coupled with my lived experiences compel me to care deeply about others, and to push back against political agendas that marginalize and attack members of our community because of how they look, talk, or who they worship. I am committed to finding peace through policy, and will fight to protect all Floridians,” she stated in the release.

Dana Young

Police unions laud Dana Young as a ‘tireless advocate’ for law enforcement

Tampa Republican Sen. Dana Young has earned the backing of four police unions in her bid for another term in Senate District 18.

“Dana cares deeply about the safety of our students, and since Day One, it was clear that she is someone who is not afraid of getting out of her comfort zone to do the right thing,” said Matt Puckett, executive director of the Florida Police Benevolent Association.

“She’s a tireless advocate for law enforcement, and her support of the school safety bill is just one example of how she is willing to make the right vote. The bottom line is she puts people and students over politics, and that’s what we need in Tallahassee.”

Joining the statewide police union in endorsing Young on Tuesday were the Tampa, West Central Florida and Suncoast chapters of the PBA.

“I am beyond honored to have the support and endorsement of the Florida PBA, as well as our local PBA organizations,” Young said. “It is our job, as lawmakers, to ensure we are taking measures to protect the safety of our law enforcement, as well as the safety of all Floridians.

“This includes our students, teachers and those who work in our schools, as they all had their safety put in danger when the senseless tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School became a horrible reality. That is why I pledge to continue to be a forceful advocate for our community and Florida, putting politics and party aside to do what’s best for our local area and state.”

The bulk endorsement comes on the heels of a poll showing Young with a 9-point lead in her re-election battle against House Minority Leader Janet Cruz, currently her only challenger in what is expected to be one of the most hard-fought and expensive state legislative races of the cycle.

Young was elected to the Senate in 2016 after taking 48 percent of the vote compared to 41 percent for 2016 Democratic nominee and one-time 2018 candidate Bob Buesing. The remaining ballots were split between businessman Joe Redner and no-party candidate Sheldon Upthegrove.

Rene Garcia backs Manny Diaz in bid for Garcia’s SD 36 seat

As Rene Garcia gets ready to leave the Florida Senate, he’s now officially named Manny Diaz as his preferred replacement.

Diaz, who currently represents House District 103, elected to run for the seat held by Garcia, who is term-limited. Now, Garcia says the Diaz is the right man to take his place.

“Manny Diaz is a proven and effective leader,” said Garcia. “I have worked with Manny for a number of years, and I know his dedication to his constituents and our community. His leadership on education issues as well as his consistent support for policies that strengthen our economy make him the right fit for District 36, and I’m proud to support him and encourage all District 36 voters to do the same.”

That’s the same message sent by a number of Miami-Dade County mayors who have thrown their support behind Diaz’s campaign as well.

Garnering the support of the man he’s looking to replace is certainly a big get, though the race for Senate District 36 appears all but over unless Alex Penelas or another big-name Democrat files within the next few weeks.

Diaz is the only Republican filed to run. His only declared Democratic opponent, Muhammad Amin has not listed a single donation so far with the Florida Division of Elections.

Diaz, meanwhile, has raised more than $500,000 between his campaign and political committee.

Diaz was grateful for Garcia’s support. “For more than two decades, Rene Garcia has been an effective public servant,” he said following news of the endorsement. “I am grateful for his friendship and support, and I’m honored by his vote of confidence in me.”

Garcia served in the Florida House of Representatives from 2000 to 2008 before moving over to the Senate in 2010. He now chairs the Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs and is Vice Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance and Tax.

Diaz noted Garcia’s years of political service, saying of the outgoing Senator, “He has a track record of outstanding leadership, and I look forward to continuing the excellent representation he delivered for District 36.”

Darren Soto gets Joe Biden’s backing in CD 9 race

Former Vice President Joe Biden has endorsed Democratic U.S. Rep. Darren Soto in his re-election campaign, giving the freshman congressman another big backer from the Democratic establishment for his primary fight with his predecessor, former U.S. Alan Grayson.

In a statement released by Soto’s re-election campaign Tuesday, Biden, the presumed front-runner among Democrats considering running for president in 2020, praised Soto’s legislative efforts but also compared him with himself, reflecting on his image as a former working-class guy who never forgot his roots.

“Darren grew up in a neighborhood like I did, where a job was about a lot more than a paycheck,” Biden stated in the news release. “He knows that to have a strong economy we must strengthen and grow the middle class and that is why I am a proud to support Darren Soto, a proven progressive, for re-election.”

Soto grew in a small town in New Jersey as his father worked and went to night school. Grayson also emerged from a working class background.

Soto faces Grayson, who held the seat from 2013-’16, in the August 28 Democratic primary. The winner takes on Saint Cloud businessman Wayne Liebnitzky in November. They’re all running in Florida’s 9th Congressional District, covering southern Orange County, Osceola County, and eastern Polk County.

“Darren Soto is a highly effective legislator who keeps his head down, works hard, and delivers for his constituents. Central Floridians couldn’t have a better person representing them in Congress,” Biden stated. “Darren helped President [Barack] Obama and I get elected twice and now he is working to protect the progress we made and help build upon it. We need Darren in Congress to keep our kids safe from guns; defend Social Security, Medicare, and Obamacare; protect our environment; and fight for our values.

“Darren grew up in a neighborhood like I did, where a job was about a lot more than a paycheck. He knows that to have a strong economy we must strengthen and grow the middle class and that is why I am a proud to support Darren Soto, a proven progressive, for re-election,” Biden added.

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons