endorsement Archives - Page 5 of 60 - Florida Politics
Nick DiCeglie, Donald Trump, Joe Gruters - HD 66 endorsement

Joe Gruters backs Nick DiCeglie in HD 66 Republican primary

Republican Rep. Joe Gruters wants Belleair Bluffs businessman Nick DiCeglie to join him in the state Legislature.

The Sarasota GOP chair, who co-chaired Donald Trump’s Florida campaign, called his Pinellas counterpart a “true conservative leader” when he endorsed him over House District 66 Republican primary rival Bernie Jacques on Thursday.

“As Chairman of the Pinellas County Republican Party, Nick worked tirelessly to increase Republican voter registration and improve a grassroots operation that helped turn Pinellas County from blue to red,” Gruters said. “His help was a critical part of helping Donald Trump win Florida in 2016. In fact, President Trump and his campaign had so much confidence in his support that they selected him to be one of Florida’s 29 members of the Electoral College, where he cast a vote for Donald Trump.”

While Gruters’ endorsement isn’t from “the big man himself,” it’s about as close as you could expect for a state House race and could carry some weight among HD 66 voters, who broke plus-14 for Trump two years ago.

“I am honored to have the endorsement of Representative Joe Gruters,” DiCeglie said. “He brings a tremendous energy to our party, which proved to pay dividends in the 2016 election. He too is an ardent supporter of our President and his leadership didn’t go unnoticed as Trump named him Florida Co-Chair of his campaign. Rep Gruters and I are like minded individuals who share the same agenda as our President and his support means a great deal.”

Gruters, who is running for state Senate, joins the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the Florida Realtors, the Sun Coast Police Benevolent Association, Pinellas County Commissioner Dave Eggers, Pinellas County Clerk Ken Burke and many others in backing DiCeglie.

In addition to his leadership role in Pinellas County Republican politics, DiCeglie is the owner and operator of waste management company Solar Sanitation. That part of his resume got the spotlight in his first TV ad, where he said he outlined his plans to “clean things up in Tallahassee.”

DiCeglie and Jacques will go head-to-head in the Aug. 28 Republican primary for the open seat, currently held by term-limited Rep. Larry Ahern. The winner of that contest will face school teacher Alex Heeren, a Democrat, in the Nov. 6 general election.

Jacques, who is also on the airwaves and boasting fresh endorsements, has the advantage in the money race.

At last check in, he had raised $124,260 in hard money and another $81,100 through political committee Protect Pinellas, with about $100,000 banked between them. DiCeglie has raised $132,456 in campaign cash and had a balance of $56,000 on July 20. Heeren has raised $28,000 and has $8,300 banked.

HD 66 is a coastal Pinellas seat covering part of Clearwater as well as Belleair Bluffs, Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores and Seminole. It is a safe Republican seat that has been held by Ahern since it was redrawn ahead of the 2012 elections.

Jason Pizzo

Eileen Higgins gets behind Jason Pizzo in SD 38

Miami-Dade Commissioner Eileen Higgins, who won a shock victory in the District 5 special election back in June, says she’s endorsing Jason Pizzo in the Democratic primary for Senate District 38.

Pizzo is facing off against incumbent state Sen. Daphne Campbell in the race. But despite Campbell’s incumbency, Higgins says she’s supporting the challenger in a statement released Friday.

“Our community deserves an honest, dedicated state senator fighting for us and Jason Pizzo will be that state senator,” said Higgins.

“Over the years, I’ve seen Jason’s passion and unwavering commitment to making our neighborhoods safer. I know he won’t stop when he gets to Tallahassee.”

Pizzo works as an attorney in Miami; he graduated from the University of Miami School of Law. He praised Higgins for her efforts in her surprise win, where she defeated Zoraida Barreiro in a runoff election for the District 5 seat.

“Commissioner Higgins reaffirmed that voters want honest, authentic leaders who are accountable to the community they serve,” said Pizzo.

“I share her conviction that public service is bigger than just one person, which is why I’m honored to have her support in the home stretch of our campaign. We can deliver a better future for our children, and it starts on Aug. 28 with our vote.”

Pizzo hasn’t been shy about spending money to take over this seat. He recently added another $125,000 in self-loans to his campaign.

SD 38 covers parts of Miami-Dade County including Miami Beach, North Miami and Bal Harbour. No Republicans filed to run in the race, leaving Pizzo and Campbell as the only two declared candidates.

National climate change group backs Anna Eskamani in HD 47

Sunrise Movement, a climate change action group aimed at organizaing young progressives on the topic nationwide, is endorsing Democrat Anna Eskamani for Florida’s House District 47 in Orange County, her campaign announced.

Eskamani is the only candidate in any Florida election and one of only 20 candidates nationally in political campaigns at any level that Sunrise Movement has endorsed in its first round. Among others with her on the group’s “Sunrise Slate” are Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic-Socialist who won the upset Democratic primary victory in a New York congressional race; and Abdul El-Sayed, the Michigan Democrat seeking to become the nation’s first Muslim governor.

“Anna is a progressive advocate, daughter of immigrants, and our endorsed candidate in the Democratic primary for FL HD 47,” Sunrise Movement tweeted. “She was one of the earliest signers in Florida of the #NoFossilFuelMoney pledge and wants Florida to join Orlando in reaching for 100 percent renewables.”

Eskamani, an Orlando non-profit organization’s executive, has escaped a Democratic primary battle and awaits the winner of the Aug. 28 Republican primary between lawyer Mikaela Nix of Orlando and businessman Stockton Reeves VI of Winter Park. They hope to succeed Republican state Rep. Mike Miller representing north and central Orange County including downtown Orlando.

“I believe that Florida’s future economy relies on protecting and preserving our natural resources, from waterways to beaches, from swamps to forests,” Eskamani stated in a news release. “As the Sunshine State, we should be the global leader in renewable energy, especially solar. We must invest in the creation of green jobs, and prioritize the health of our families, climate, and democracy. Climate change is real, and we must not only curb it’s impact but protect communities who are already experiencing extreme weather and rising sea levels. It’s time we evolve away from energy sources of the past and look instead, towards the future.”

Aakash Patel

George LeMieux endorses Aakash Patel for Hillsborough Commission

Tampa businessman Aakash Patel added another high-profile endorsement in his bid to become the Republican nominee for the District 7 seat on the Hillsborough County Commission.

Lining up behind Patel on Thursday was George LeMieux, who served as a U.S. Senator from 2009 through 2011 and is now working as the chairman for Florida-based corporate law firm Gunster, Yoakley & Stewart. Per the press release from Team Patel, he and LeMieux first met during Patel’s time as a student senator at Florida State University.

“I have known Aakash since he was a student and I appreciate all he has done for the community particularly his work for early childhood education. He consistently applies his conservative principles to accomplish goals,” LeMieux said.

LeMieux’s is the latest of many Republicans with statewide clout to weigh in on Patel’s campaign to succeed retiring Commissioner Al Higginbotham. Past endorsements have come in from Attorney General Pam Bondi, House Speaker Richard Corcoran, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz and many others.

“I am honored by the support from Senator LeMieux. I appreciate all he has done for Florida and I look forward to working with him once I become a Commissioner in Hillsborough County,” Patel said.

Patel is one of seven candidates vying for the countywide commission seat, and his impressive inventory of backers is coupled with an outsized lead over his competition when it comes to fundraising.

To date, Patel has raised more than $500,000 between his campaign and an affiliated political committee, Elevate Tampa. He had $117,400 on hand between the two accounts on July 20, with most of his recent expenditures covering media buys for his first round of TV ads.

To make the November ballot, Patel will have to get past Tampa attorney Todd Marks in the Aug. 28 Republican primary.

Marks, the only other candidate to break six figures in the money race, also recently hit the airwaves with an ad slamming Patel for some donations he made to Democratic candidates in the past. Patel responded to those attacks with his own ad where he commits to keeping his focus on the issues rather than mudslinging.

The winner of the Republican nomination will face one of four Democrats — Ray Chiaramonte, Mark Nash, Kimberly Overman or Sky White — as well as Green Party candidate Kim O’Connor in the Nov. 6 general election.

Kathy Castor backs Mike Alvarez, admonishes Susan Valdes in HD 62

Tampa Democrat Mike Alvarez landed a major backer Thursday as his chief rival in the three-way Democratic primary for House District 62, School Board member Susan Valdes, notched another campaign gaffe.

The new endorsement came in from U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, who represents Florida’s 14th Congressional District, a territory that includes the Tampa-based state House seat Alvarez is gunning for.

“Democrat Mike Alvarez is the clear choice to represent the heart of Tampa in the Florida House of Representatives and I’m proud to endorse his campaign,” Castor said. “We need a true public servant who will fight for better public schools, bring investment to all our communities and create higher-wage jobs.”

The congresswoman joins the Florida Education Association, the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association and the Florida AFL-CIO in endorsing Alvarez, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who was the first-in candidate for the seat.

“Congresswoman Castor is exactly the kind of public servant I aspire to be. She’s leading the fight to protect our public schools, increase affordable housing, and stand up to Donald Trump,” Alvarez said. “I look forward to continuing my work with her and all of our Democratic leaders to stand up for our values. I’m truly humbled to have her support.”

But along with the endorsement came another boon for Team Alvarez: A harsh rebuke of Valdes for a campaign mailer she sent out that falsely touted an endorsement from Castor.

“I am disappointed that the latest communication from Susan Valdes is inconsistent with Florida law and implies my endorsement of her campaign,” Castor said. “It is imperative that candidates follow the law to ensure fairness and transparency. Florida Law leaves no room for doubt or confusion — it is unlawful to represent that you have a person’s support unless you have their permission in writing.

“Let me be clear, the candidate in this race who has my endorsement and support is Mike Alvarez. If you support public schools, if you share our Democratic values, and if you want honesty from your elected officials, vote for Mike Alvarez,” Castor concluded.

The law referenced by the congresswoman is found in Chapter 106.143(4) of the Florida Statutes. It 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.

Valdes’ misstep is the latest in a string of head scratchers she’s made since entering the race.

She kicked off her campaign with a resign-to-run letter of questionable legitimacy, and weeks later a video surfaced of her dodging a question about whether she would accept campaign contributions from charter schools. In the wake of that video going semi-viral, Valdes’ campaign threatened to pull strings and have the man who recorded it fired from his job at the State Attorney’s office.

Alvarez and Valdes are running alongside Chris Cano in the Democratic primary for HD 62, currently held by House Minority Leader Janet Cruz, who is running for state Senate and has endorsed Valdes as her successor.

HD 62 is one of five state legislative seats, including three in the Tampa Bay area, to have its primary election locked down by a write-in candidate.

The primary election is Aug. 28. Valdes’ mailer is below.

Sean Shaw

Democratic U.S. Reps. line up behind Sean Shaw for Attorney General

Attorney General candidate Sean Shaw picked up endorsements from eight Democratic members of Florida’s congressional delegation Wednesday, less than four weeks from the primary election to determine whether he or Ryan Torrens be the Democratic option in November.

Lining up behind Shaw were U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor, Charlie Crist, Val Demings, Ted Deutch, Alcee Hastings, Al Lawson, Darren Soto and Frederica Wilson.

While each member of Congress listed in the announcement had kind words for the freshman state representative, the most personal recommendation — and the lone shot at term-limited Attorney General Pam Bondi — came from Castor, who represents Shaw as the Congresswoman for Florida’s 14th Congressional District.

“I am excited to announce my endorsement for Sean Shaw for Attorney General of Florida. I have had the pleasure of working with Sean to improve the lives of Floridians and know that he’ll fight for the values that we share as Democrats,” she said. “Unlike the current Attorney General, Sean will stand up to the special interests that have flooded our streets with weapons and push back against companies determined to rip off Floridians. Sean Shaw is the best choice for Attorney General of Florida.”

Other statements celebrated Shaw’s accomplishments in the House and during his tenure as Florida’s insurance consumer advocate under former CFO Alex Sink as well as the service of his father, Leander Shaw, who was Florida’s first African-American Supreme Court Justice.

The new slate of endorsements adds to a list that already includes SEIU Florida, the Florida Education Association,  the Florida Police Benevolent Association, a handful of State Attorneys as well as former Florida Governor and U.S. Sen. Bob Graham.

“I’ll be ready on day one to fight back against the current Administration’s actions that are harmful to Floridians and I am proud to have the support our so many of Florida’s Democratic members of Congress who have already been battling Trump for nearly the past two years,” Shaw said. “Whether it’s in Tallahassee or Washington, I look forward to working towards a better future for Florida.”

Shaw, who entered the race at the beginning of the year, is the heavy favorite in the Aug. 28 Democratic primary.

To date, the Tampa Democrat has raised nearly $839,000 between his campaign and political committee, Sean Shaw for Florida, and had about $424,000 on hand on July 20. Torrens, an Odessa attorney, has barely kept his campaign in the black, and some of his contributions — or loans, according to his campaign — have come into question in recent weeks.

The winner of the Democratic nomination will face the winner of the Republican primary between former circuit court judge Ashley Moody and Pensacola Rep. Frank White in the Nov. 6 general election.

Karen Skyers

Sean Shaw endorses Karen Skyers as his successor in HD 61

Democratic Rep. Sean Shaw weighed in on the contest for the Florida House seat he’s giving up to run for Attorney General, announcing Wednesday that Tampa lawyer Karen Skyers is his pick to succeed him in Hillsborough County’s House District 61.

“Karen Skyers is the right choice to build upon the progress that we have achieved in House District 61 over the last two years,” Shaw said. “Karen is a tough-as-nails fighter, who will be a zealous advocate for the citizens of Tampa. I am excited to personally endorse Karen’s candidacy and work with her to move HD 61 forward.”

Shaw’s endorsement comes a couple weeks after Skyers, a former lobbyist, earned the backing of Ruth’s List Florida, a Democratic Party-aligned group that supports female candidates for public office. Her other backers include Orlando Sen. Victor Torres, the Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida and former Sen. Arthenia Joyner, whom Skyers worked for as a legislative aide prior to joining Becker & Poliakoff.

“This endorsement is a great honor,” Skyers said. “Representative Shaw has been a powerful voice for the people of District 61 as their state lawmaker, and, before that, for the people of Florida as the State Insurance Consumer Advocate. I look forward to continuing in his footsteps and his commitment to service in the House of Representatives.”

Skyers faces Sharon CarterDianne Hart and Norman Harris in the Aug. 28 Democratic primary, and thus far she holds the lead in overall fundraising while Hart, who lost the 2016 Democratic primary by just 101 votes, holds a cash-on-hand advantage.

As of July 20, Skyers had raised more than $57,000 for her campaign account and had $14,225 in the bank while Hart had raised about $44,000, including $15,000 in loans, and had $33,000 in the bank. Harris and Carter trail the considerably.

HD 61 covers downtown Tampa, Ybor City, and Seminole Heights. Democrats hold an overwhelming advantage at the polls. It is one of five state legislative districts this cycle that had its primary locked down by a write-in candidate.

Chris Nocco gives full endorsement of Ardian Zika in new ad

Land O’ Lakes Republican Ardian Zika is rolling out a new ad touting an endorsement from Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco in the Republican primary for House District 37.

“I’m Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco and in this election, I’m standing with Ardian Zika for state representative,” Nocco says in the ad. “Ardian stands with our first responders, that’s why he is endorsed by the Police Benevolent Association and the Fraternal Order of Police.

“I hope you join me and the men and women who wear the badge and so many others in our community and vote for Ardian Zika for state representative,” Nocco concludes.

Zika, a businessman, faces Elle Rudisill and Ryan Patrick Boney in the Aug. 28 Republican primary to succeed term-limited House Speaker Richard Corcoran in the Pasco-based House seat. The winner of that contest will go up against Land O’ Lakes Democrat Tammy Garcia in the Nov. 6 general election.

Through July 20, Zika had cracked the $200,000 mark in total fundraising and had more than $164,000 in the bank. That puts him far ahead of the combined total of his challengers.

In addition to his strong fundraising and law enforcement support, Zika has locked down endorsements from the Florida Chamber of Commerce, St. Petersburg Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes, Senate Majority Leader Wilton Simpson and former House Speaker Will Weatherford.

HD 37 covers the majority of inland Pasco County, including the communities of Land O’ Lakes, Odessa, Heritage Pines, Shady Hills, Meadow Oaks and Moon Lake.

Corcoran never faced an Election Day challenger in his four campaigns in the House, three of which came after HD 37 was redrawn. The seat is a Republican stronghold that voted plus-27 for Donald Trump two years ago.

Zika’s ad is below.

Fraternal Order of Police backs Manny Diaz in SD 36

Manny Diaz has pulled in another endorsement from the law enforcement community, as the Florida State Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) is backing his bid for the Senate District 36 seat.

FOP is a nationwide organization that advocates on behalf of law enforcement officers. Diaz issued a statement thanking the Florida Lodge for its support after he received word of the endorsement.

“I’m very honored to have FOP’s support,” Diaz said.

“Keeping law enforcement strong is vital to every community across Florida, and I will continue to make that a priority. I admire and appreciate the bravery and dedication law enforcement personnel show each and every day, and I look forward to continuing to work with them to make sure residents and tourists alike enjoy peace and safety in our state.”

This is the second pro-law enforcement group to back Diaz in recent weeks, as the Dade County Police Benevolent Association also endorsed Diaz last month.

Diaz has represented House District 103 since 2012 but is attempting to make a move to the Senate to replace term-limited state Sen. Rene Garcia. Garcia has already endorsed Diaz, who is the only Republican in the race.

On the Democratic side, David Perez, former aide to ex-Miami-Dade County Mayor Alex Penelas, is running against Julian Santos, a former employee at the Florida Office of Financial Regulation in Miami.

SEIU Florida endorsing Debbie Mucarsel-Powell

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Florida has thrown its support behind Debbie Mucarsel-Powell in her campaign against incumbent U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo.

“Debbie Mucarsel-Powell has a keen perspective on the needs and challenges of working people, and she has spent her life’s work on expanding access to quality healthcare for Floridians, especially those who need it most,” said SEIU Florida State Council President Monica Russo.

SEIU is a labor union representing workers from multiple sectors. The organization serves “over 55,000 active and retired Floridians including healthcare professionals, public employees, and property service workers,” according to its website.

Russo added: “Debbie is the type of voice we desperately need in Washington to fight to protect our rights and represent our families, and SEIU Florida is pleased to endorse her candidacy.”

Mucarsel-Powell is one of two Democrats vying for the nomination in Florida’s 26th Congressional District. Former naval officer Demetries Grimes is also seeking the Democratic nod.

Curbelo has represented CD 26 since he defeated Joe Garcia, the incumbent Democratic representative, in 2014.

The race is one that election watchers are keeping a close eye on. Despite the seat being held by a Republican in Curbelo, Hillary Clinton won the district by more than 16 percentage points in 2016.

That, combined with Democrats leading the generic congressional ballot, has led analysts to rate the race as a toss-up.

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