endorsement Archives - Page 6 of 60 - Florida Politics

Bernie Sanders backs Andrew Gillum for Governor

Andrew Gillum has earned a big-time endorsement in the Florida Governor’s race, as U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont announced he is supporting Gillum’s bid for the Democratic nomination.

Sanders was seen as an icon of the progressive movement during his run against Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential campaign. Now, he says Gillum is the best person to carry that progressive mantle forward in Florida.

“As governor, Andrew Gillum will work to provide health care for all through a Medicare-for-All program, raise the minimum wage to a living wage, invest in sustainable energy, improve education, make sure the wealthiest corporations pay their fair share of taxes, and be welcoming to immigrants,” said Sanders.

“Andrew has never backed down from a fight, including beating the NRA and standing up against xenophobic politicians. Andrew Gillum will set a new course for Florida — a governor who represents all the people and not just powerful special interests.”

Though Sanders ran in the Democratic Party primary in 2016, he officially identifies as an independent. He describes himself as a “democratic socialist.”

It’s an honor to have Senator Bernie Sanders’ endorsement in this campaign,” said Gillum.

“He has been an unapologetic fighter for everyday working people standing up to the special interests. From Medicare-for-all, to a $15 minimum wage, his ideas and platform have become the Democratic Party’s north star on economic justice for those who need it most.”

Sanders was recently named the most popular senator in America, according to Morning Consult.

Whether that popularity will translate into a boost for the Gillum campaign remains to be seen. But he needs a jolt, if polls are any indication. Recent surveys show Gillum near the bottom of the five-candidate Democratic field.

Sanders’ endorsement, however, is energizing those already supporting Gillum. Several spoke out after hearing the news.

In 2018, we need to nominate a Democrat for Governor who has the progressive vision, energy and record to motivate voters who sat out previous elections,” said state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, who founded and leads the state Legislative Progressive caucus. He’s also endorsed Gillum in the primary battle.

“Like Bernie, Mayor Gillum has never shied away from his progressive values, and he is the candidate who can unite this party and consolidate a winning coalition this November,” added Smith.

“Senator Sanders called for a political revolution, and that’s exactly what we will get by nominating Mayor Andrew Gillum,” added state Rep. Shevrin Jones. “We need candidates across this country to improve the lives of marginalized people. With Andrew Gillum primed to win in August and November, we will finally have a governor who would invest in our communities and put our people first.”

Gillum says he is ready to lead, should voters make him the state’s first Democratic Governor in 20 years.

As Governor, I promise to get up every single day ready to fight for a state that puts working people first; that makes affordable health care a right for every Floridian; and a state that is powered by its people.”

Police union backs Ray Blacklidge for HD 69

Republican Ray Blacklidge announced Tuesday that he’d picked up an endorsement for his House District 69 bid from the statewide Fraternal Order of Police.

The Florida State Lodge of the FOP represents has been representing Florida law enforcement officers for more than 60 years and counts more than 20,000 members among its ranks.

“I am very proud to be endorsed by the FOP,” said Blacklidge. “The men and women of Florida’s law enforcement community are vital to the quality of life we enjoy here. Each and every day, their courage and sense of duty allows the rest of us to carry out our responsibilities in peace and safety. I’m honored to have their support, and I look forward to working with them on strengthening public safety in Florida.”

The FOP’s endorsement is a significant addition to Blacklidge’s stack of backers, which includes Bradenton Republican Rep. Jim Boyd, Seminole Mayor Leslie Waters and South Pasadena Mayor Max Elson and a handful of others.

The Madeira Beach attorney and businessman is running against Jeremy Bailie in the Republican primary for HD 69, which is open this year due to the early exit of Rep. Kathleen Peters, who is running for Pinellas County Commission rather than a fourth term in the House.

As of July 20, Blacklidge led in overall fundraising with $194,000 in receipts between his campaign account and political committee, Friends of Ray Blacklidge. He has about $100,000 in the bank, including about $30,000 in self-funding. Bailie, through the same date, has raised a little over $71,000 and has $31,300 on hand.

The winner of the Aug. 28 primary contest will go up against Democratic nominee Jennifer Webb in the Nov. 6 general election. Webb currently leads the overall field in cash on hand, with $114,500 in her campaign account off of $154,500 in total fundraising.

HD 69 covers part of southern Pinellas County including coastal communities from Redington shores southward as well as a southwestern chunk of the mainland peninsula. The district has a slim Republican advantage. Peters has held the seat since it was redrawn ahead of the 2012 elections, and it voted plus-3 for Donald Trump two years ago.

Lauren Book endorses Andrew Dolberg in crowded HD 98 primary

Small business owner Andrew Dolberg has earned a high-profile endorsement in the packed primary for House District 98, as state Sen. Lauren Book announced her support for the Dolberg campaign Wednesday.

“Andrew is exactly the kind of bold and fresh-faced leader we need in Tallahassee,” said Book on her decision to back Dolberg.

“In the Florida House, I know that he will be a strong ally on women’s issues, a champion for children, and a fierce advocate for Florida’s public schools. I look forward to working with him to deliver results for the residents of Broward County.”

Dolberg, a Plantation Democrat, is one of five Democrats competing for the nomination in HD 98, making it one of the most competitive Florida House races this election cycle. The district covers parts of Davie, Plantation and Sunrise.

Meanwhile, Book has positioned herself as one of the leaders of the state Democratic party, winning re-election to the Senate unopposed. Book also serves on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, established after February’s attack in Parkland to prevent further school shootings in the state.

“Sen. Book’s record speaks for itself,” remarked Dolberg.

“She is one of the most widely respected individuals in the legislature. I look forward to serving with her and I count myself lucky to have her as both a friend and a mentor.”

In the HD 98 primary, Dolberg is up against finance veteran Elaine Geller, attorney Michael Gottlieb, comic book shop owner Stephen Korka and former code enforcement officer Daniel Stallone.

The candidates are running to replace outgoing state Rep. Katie Edwards-Walpole, who is not seeking re-election.

Mike Beltran gaining traction in HD 57 race

Lithia Republican Mike Beltran is starting to gain some traction in his bid to succeed Republican Rep. Jake Raburn in Hillsborough County’s House District 57.

The attorney and father of two entered the race for HD 57 a day before the end of the candidate qualifying period and has since piled on endorsements from staunch conservative groups Florida Right to Life and the Florida Family Policy Council and his pro-gun views have earned him an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association.

The 34-year-old Harvard graduate, who was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to the Judicial Nominating Commission for Florida’s 13th Judicial Circuit Court, has also found some success on the fundraising trail.

Through one month in the race, Beltran has brought in $25,207 in outside money and kicked in another $100,000 in candidate loans. As of July 20, he had more than $107,000 in the bank.

That gives him an edge over his Republican primary opponent, businessman and U.S. Army veteran Sean McCoy, who has bested him in outside fundraising with nearly $40,000 raised but has so far only put up $2,000 of his own money. As of July 20, McCoy has about $38,250 in the bank.

McCoy also recently picked an endorsement from the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

Both Republicans rushed to qualify for the seat after Raburn’s surprise announcement that he would not seek re-election in order to spend more time with his family and focus on his business.

The winner of the Aug. 28 primary contest will move on to face Valrico Democrat Debbie Katt, who has so far raised about $11,000 for her campaign and has $5,400 at the ready.

HD 57 covers part of southeastern Hillsborough Count and leans Republican.

The GOP has a 7-point lead in voter registrations within the district, and Raburn had no trouble holding the seat for three terms — he beat Democrat Bruce Barnett by 17 points to win his first term in 2012 and went unopposed in the 2014 and 2016 election cycles.

Anna Eskamani

Service employees’ union backs Anna Eskamani in HD 47 race

The Service Employees International Union of Florida is backing Democratic House candidate Anna Eskamani in her run for Florida House District 47, her campaign announced Tuesday.

The union typically endorses Democrats and Eskamani’s path to the general election was cleared last week when her Democratic primary challenger Lou Forges dropped out. She will face either Stockton Reeves VI or Mikaela Nix in the Nov. 6 election.

“We are school support staff, county and municipal workers, we work in Florida’s nursing homes and hospitals, and we are janitors, landscapers, adjunct professors, fast food workers and security officers. We believe we share a common vision for Florida – one in which working families have economic security, rights and a legacy for the next generation,” Monica Russo, Florida’s SEIU president, stated in a news release issued by Eskamani’s campaign. “With ongoing attacks on union rights and the rights of poor and working people at every level of government, our members are standing up to fight and support candidates like you who they believe will stand alongside them and champion their issues.”

Eskamani, Reeves and Nix each seek to succeed Republican state Rep. Mike Miller, who’s running for Congress. The district covers north and central Orange County through downtown Orlando to the south suburbs of Belle Isle and Edgewood.

“I am humbled to have the endorsement of SEIU,” Eskamani stated in a news release. “As a working class daughter of immigrants, I know what it’s like to grow up with starvation wages, not knowing if bills will paid on time. Workers are the backbone of our country, and I envision a world where workers, business owners, managers, and entrepreneurs can each achieve the American dream, and contribute to a diversified economy. Our campaign is about the people of Florida, and we will never leave anyone behind.”

This past weekend, Anna also received the endorsement of Vamos4PR Action, which noted her long history of advocacy, and her support of local Puerto Rican community members, especially of those who came to Florida after the damaging impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Sean Shaw

SEIU Florida backs Sean Shaw for Attorney General

Tampa Rep. Sean Shaw announced Tuesday that he’d earned the backing of the statewide branch of the Service Employee International Union announced.

“The members of SEIU Florida strongly endorse Sean Shaw for Florida Attorney General because of his long record as a watchdog for the public who champions the rights of everyday Floridians,” said SEIU Florida State Council President Monica Russo. “As Attorney General, Sean will ensure justice and accountability in our courts and safety in our communities. We can count on him to take swift and decisive action in putting the people of Florida first.”

SEIU Florida is a labor union that represents over 55,000 active and retired Floridians including healthcare professionals, public employees, and property service workers.

Past union endorsements for Shaw, a Democrat, have come in from the Florida Education Association and the Florida Police Benevolent Association. The former insurance consumer advocate has also locked up the support of three State Attorneys and former Governor and U.S. Sen. Bob Graham.

“I am excited by SEIU Florida’s decision to endorse my candidacy. This race has always been about returning power to the people of Florida, the very people that SEIU Florida represents,” Shaw said. “I have pledged since day one to fight for the rights of all Floridians and that’s exactly what I’ll do as Florida’s next Attorney General. I look forward to working with SEIU Florida to amplify our message and turn out voters in the primary and general election.”

Shaw faces Odessa attorney Ryan Torrens in the Democratic primary, though Shaw is far ahead in fundraising.

As of July 20, Shaw had brought in nearly $839,000 between his campaign and political committee, Sean Shaw for Florida, and had about $424,000 on hand.

Torrens, through the same date, had raised just shy of $125,000 for his campaign and had $7,250 in the bank.

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

Aakash Patel

Kevin Ambler endorses Aakash Patel for Hillsborough Co. Commission

Tampa businessman Aakash Patel keeps adding backers in his bid for the countywide District 7 seat on the Hillsborough County Commission.

Adding his name to the list on Tuesday was former Republican Rep. Kevin Ambler. Ambler represented a portion of Hillsborough County including Lutz and Odessa in the old House District 47 for eight years before he hit term limits in the 2010 cycle.

“I am pleased to offer my endorsement of the Patel for County Commission Campaign to Aakash. I know he is a hard worker who will do everything he can to instill solid fiscally conservative principles in his decisions while serving on the Hillsborough County Commission,” Ambler said. “I look forward to working with him over the next several weeks to let my friends and neighbors know he is the one we need on the Commission.”

Ambler’s endorsement is the latest in a long line of Tampa Bay area Republicans who have spoken up for Patel, who is one of seven candidates vying for the seat currently held by retiring Commissioner Al Higginbotham.  Prior endorsements include U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, Attorney General Pam Bondi, House Speaker Richard Corcoran, former House Speaker Will Weatherford and Zephyrhills Rep. Danny Burgess.

“I am honored by the support of Representative Ambler. I continue to be humbled by the outpouring of solid conservatives who have stepped up to support my efforts to become the next County Commissioner for District 7,” Patel said. “I look forward to continuing our efforts knocking on doors and meeting voters with Representative Ambler.”

Patel, who founded consulting firm Elevate Inc., originally filed for the District 1 seat held by Commissioner Sandy Murman, who was expected to give up her seat two years early and make her own run for District 7. When she decided against that plan, Patel and fellow Republican Todd Marks switched their campaigns over to the countywide seat.

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.

Marks is the only other candidate in the race to break six figures in fundraising. Through July 20, he had brought in nearly $139,000 for his campaign account, including $47,500 in candidate contributions, and had $99,365 in the bank.

The two Republicans will go head-to-head in the Aug. 28 primary election. The winner of that contest will face one of four Democrats — Ray ChiaramonteMark NashKimberly Overman and Sky White — as well as Green Party candidate Kim O’Connor in the Nov. 6 general election.

ashley moody

Builders back Ashley Moody for Attorney General

Republican Attorney General candidate Ashley Moody put another brick in her wall of endorsements Tuesday after earning an official thumbs-up from the Associated Builders and Contractors of Florida.

There were hints the construction trade group would be backing Moody, a former prosecutor and circuit court judge, after the association met in Marco Island last week to decide which candidates it would back in Florida’s Cabinet and state legislative races.

“Associated Builders and Contractors of Florida is proud to endorse Ashley Moody for Attorney General,” said ABC Florida chair George Cuesta. “Her steadfast support of reducing barriers to increase innovation and promote job creation, will make her an excellent partner to the Commercial Construction industry. These contractors are not just employers but are also the lifeblood of Florida’s growth.”

The new endorsement adds to a long list of backers who have lined up behind the Hillsborough native’s Cabinet bid. She recently got a salute from the Florida Police Chiefs Association, with prior nods coming in from more than 40 county sheriffs, the Florida Police Benevolent Association, more than half of Florida’s state attorneys as well as current Attorney General Pam Bondi, who cannot run for re-election in 2018 due to term limits.

“I appreciate the confidence the Associated Builders and Contractors have in my ability to combat the tough issues facing our state,” Moody said. “As Attorney General, I will use my years of experience as a business attorney, prosecutor, and judge to ensure those that scam vulnerable citizens and frivolously tax our judicial system are held accountable.”

Moody faces Pensacola state Rep. Frank White in the Republican primary.

White has self-funded to the tune of nearly $4 million so far, and received some support from his family as well, which helped him start hitting the airwaves back in early June. Moody has kept pace, however, raising more than $3.25 million without whipping out her own checkbook. Moody has since rolled out TV ads of her own.

The most recent poll of the primary race showed White holding a lead over Moody, though more than half of Republican primary voters were undecided.

The winner of the Aug. 28 Republican primary will likely face Tampa Democratic Rep. Sean Shaw in the Nov. 6 general election. Though Shaw has not had as much success as his Republican rivals when it comes to fundraising, a couple recent polls show him with an edge among likely general election voters.

Giffords PAC endorses Darren Soto in CD 9 race

The national gun-control political action committee founded by former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly, Giffords PAC, is endorsing Democratic U.S. Rep. Darren Soto in his re-election bid in Florida’s 9th Congressional District.

The endorsement, announced Tuesday by Soto’s campaign, comes to Soto who’s been under attack for his career political record on guns by his Aug. 28 Democratic primary challenger former U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, who was a colleague of Giffords in Congress.

The Giffords PAC was founded by Kelly, a former NASA space shuttle astronaut and retired U.S. Navy captain, and his wife, who survived a 2011 assassination attempt that also killed six people and wounded 18 others. The Arizona Democrat was left with permanent brain injuries but recovered to return to Congress and become a leader in the gun-control movement.

“Darren Soto is a fighter who has stood up to the gun lobby in Congress, refused to stay silent on the need to address our gun violence crisis, and championed legislation that will save lives,” Giffords stated in a news release. “We are proud to endorse Darren for re-election because he is committed to protecting not only the people of Florida, but communities all across the country. We look forward to continuing our work with Darren as we push for the solutions that will keep our schools, streets, churches, and neighborhoods safe.”

Grayson also has been a strong advocate of significant gun control measures, and he’s been challenging Soto’s career record on the issue, noting that while Soto was in the Florida House of Representatives, he received an A rating and an endorsement from the National Rifle Association in 2010.

Soto and his campaign have dismissed that circumstance as not indicative of who he is and argued that he’d been a strong voice for gun law reforms in Congress, voting against a concealed weapons reciprocity measure last year and advocating background checks on all firearm sales, among other positions. Soto also was among the first to call for bans on the sales of semi-automatic weapons in Florida, when he was in the Florida Senate, holding a news conference on the call just a few days after the June 12, 2016, massacre at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub.

“Congresswoman Gabby Giffords is a singular force in American life,” Soto stated. “She is the definition of courage. It is humbling to have her support. Her, her husband Mark, and the entire Giffords organization are true leaders, and I am honored to work with them to end gun violence. The NRA is a determined opponent, but the great majority of Americans are seeing through their lies. Together, we will overcome them and pass real gun safety reform.”

Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee endorses Matt Gaetz for re-election

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, now a resident of Florida, endorsed U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz for re-election to Florida’s 1st Congressional District on Monday.

Huckabee, who lives in CD 1, said in a campaign video that he was glad the Shalimar Republican was his congressman, and said he’s lived up to his expectations during his first term in Washington.

“I cannot tell you how proud I am to watch Matt Gaetz in his very first term in Congress become a genuine leader. I knew he was pro-life. I knew he was pro-Israel. I knew that some of the things that truly matter to me as an individual mattered to Matt Gaetz, but I’m proud to see him working with President Trump,” Huckabee said.

“I’m proud to see him standing up for the rights of ordinary citizens. I’m proud to see him standing up for America and doing it boldly and effectively. I can’t think of any other freshman Congressman who has had as big an impact as Matt Gaetz has. He is highly respected among his peers, and widely trusted as somebody who is unafraid to stand for the people of his district and the people of America. I’m proud to be a Matt Gaetz supporter,” Huckabee concluded.

Gaetz has been ramping up his re-election campaign in recent weeks, announcing endorsements from the National Rifle Association, anti-abortion group Florida Right to Life and the Humane Society Legislative Fund, the political arm of the Humane Society.

He managed to land an official nod from Trump, who is expected to stump for Gaetz, as well as U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis and Gov. Rick Scott, during a rally at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa Tuesday night.

“I have admired Governor Huckabee long before my involvement in politics, and I am thrilled to once again receive his support. His strong stand for conservative values is one which I try to emulate every single day in Congress. Governor Huckabee is an extremely influential voice in Northwest Florida, and I’m thankful to have his support,” Gaetz said, accepting the endorsement.

Chris Dosev and John Mills are challenging Gaetz in the Aug. 28 Republican primary.

Dosev was the third-place finisher in the crowded 2016 Republican primary for CD 1. He and Mills had less than $20,000 combined at the end of the second quarter while Gaetz had raised more than $800,000 for his campaign and had $455,000 on hand.

Phil Ehr and Jennifer Zimmerman are competing for the Democratic nomination, though they pose little threat in the deep-red district — Gaetz defeated 2016 Democratic nominee Steven Specht by 39 points, and Trump carried CD 1 by the same margin.

CD 1 covers all of Escambia, Holmes, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton counties.

The endorsement video is below.

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