endorsement Archives - Page 7 of 60 - Florida Politics
Shawn Harrison

The ‘Voice of Florida Business’ speaks up for Shawn Harrison in HD 63

The “Voice of Florida Business” has spoken: Tampa Republican Rep. Shawn Harrison deserves another two years representing Hillsborough County’s House District 63.

That’s according to the Associated Industries of Florida (AIF), a conservative leaning pro-business group that gave Harrison high marks in its post-2018 legislative session Voting Records report.

“Associated Industries of Florida is proud to support Representative Harrison. As a small business owner and job creator, he knows the importance of getting government out of the way by cutting ‘red tape’ and reducing regulations on Florida employers,” said Brewster Bevis, senior vice president of AIF.

The AIF backing is the latest endorsement for Harrison as he faces another tough re-election battle in HD 63, a perennial swing seat that covers portions of northern Tampa and the communities of Lutz, Pebble Creek, Lake Magdalene and Carrollwood.

Other recent nods for the incumbent have come in from the Florida Police Benevolent Association and the Florida Realtors, the state’s largest professional trade association.

“I am particularly honored to have the support of Florida’s pre-eminent business association. AIF represents Florida’s employers and as a small business owner I appreciate the hard work they do in Tallahassee to make sure Florida’s job creators have a voice in the Legislature,” Harrison said.

“Having been recognized as one of Tampa’s 40 under 40 young business leaders and a four-time winner of USF’s ‘Fast 56’ award recognizing the 56 fastest growing Bull led businesses in the world, I understand how to create good paying jobs right here in District 63. I pledge to do my part in continuing to speak up for those willing to risk their own capital to create jobs for hard working Hillsborough residents.”

Harrison founded a background and asset screening firm, Medical Collection Group, in 2002. He is also a lawyer.

The Republican lawmaker hinted that more “exciting endorsements” would be revealed in the coming weeks.

Harrison faces Democratic lawyer Fentrice Driskell this go around, and thus far he has her beat when it comes to fundraising.

As of July 20, the incumbent had raised $134,500 in hard money and had more than $70,000 of that cash at the ready. His affiliated political committee, Committee for an Innovative Florida, has another $129,000 in the bank. Driskell, meanwhile, has raised more than $122,000 for her campaign fund since entering the race in February. She had about $89,000 banked at the end of last week.

Depending on whether the so-called “blue wave” hits Tampa, Harrison could still be in trouble come Election Day. Democrats make up about 39 percent of the swing seat’s electorate, while Republicans hold a 32 percent share.

Harrison served in the House from 2010 to 2012, when former Democratic Rep. Mark Danish beat him by about 700 votes to flip the newly redrawn HD 63 despite raising less than $20,000 for his campaign compared to nearly $300,000 for Harrison.

Harrison reclaimed the seat in the 2014 cycle with a 5-point win over Danish, and in 2016 he emerged victorious in another tough re-election battle against Tampa City Councilwoman Lisa Montelione. His sub 2-point victory came as Democrat Hillary Clinton carried the seat by double digits.

Neither Driskel nor Harrison face a primary challenger, and no third-party candidates made the ballot. The two major-party pols will go head-to-head in the Nov. 6 general election.

Matt Gaetz lands high caliber endorsement for CD 1 re-election bid

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz has already earned the backing of “the big man himself” in his quest for a second term in Florida’s 1st Congressional District, and this week he picked up another major backer.

The National Rifle Association said Friday they were on board for the Shalimar Republican’s re-election bid, which should come as no surprise to those who’ve followed the Fox News staple since his days as a state-level lawmaker — Gaetz famously fought to ensure “not one damn comma” of Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law was repealed and has been a staunch supporter of Second Amendment rights since he was first elected to the Florida House in 2010.

For his work, the freshman Congressman has earned an “A+” rating from the NRA for 8 years running, a much-coveted distinction in conservative circles.

“The Second Amendment is foundational to American life. From the beginning of our nation, Americans have clung tightly to their right to keep and bear arms. I do the same. I’m honored to accept the endorsement from the NRA, and I consider it my duty to ensure our Second Amendment rights shall not be infringed,” Gaetz said. “The people of Northwest Florida can always depend on me to keep fighting tirelessly for our constitutional right to keep and bear arms.”

The NRA endorsement comes a couple weeks after President Donald Trump, who has referred to Gaetz as an “absolute warrior,” gave him the official thumps-up for another term. The president is also 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 next week.

Prior endorsements include anti-abortion group Florida Right to Life and the Humane Society Legislative Fund, the political arm of the Humane Society.

Gaetz faces Chris Dosev and John Mills 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.

Danny Kushmer

Hillsborough Schools chief backs Danny Kushmer for CD 15

Brandon businessman Danny Kushmer announced Friday that his bid for Florida’s 15th Congressional District picked up an endorsement from former Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections and Superintendent of Hillsborough County Schools Earl Lennard.

“I have known Danny Kushmer for many years and I know he will be a strong voice for our community in Congress. I wholeheartedly support him and I’m asking everyone I know to vote for him on August 28th. He will represent us better than anyone else in the race on the issues that matter most,” Lennard said.

The new endorsement is one of many Kushmer has received in a recent surge by his campaign. A couple weeks ago, the Hillsborough Republican announced that he’d locked up nods from Bartow Commissioners James Clements and Trish Pfeiffer as well as anti-abortion group Florida Right to Life.

“I am honored to have the support of Earl Lennard. He is a person I truly admire for all the time he has spent working diligently in our community to make it a better place to live, learn, work and play. I continue to be thankful for everyone who has stepped up to support me in this effort and I look forward to serving the constituents in Congressional District 15 in Washington DC.”

Kushmer is one of five Republicans running for CD 15, which is open this year due to current U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross’ decision to not seek a fifth term.

Also vying for the GOP nomination are former Auburndale state Rep. Neil Combee, Lakeland businessman Sean Harper, Lakeland mental health practitioner Ed Shoemaker and Dover state Rep. Ross Spano.

Spano led the GOP field in fundraising at the end of June, with $108,000 banked thanks to candidate loans and taking on a fair amount of campaign debt. Combee, who recently rolled out his first TV ad, had $86,000 banked through the same date, followed by Kushmer at $54,000, Harper at $43,000 and Shoemaker at $3,000.

Democratic candidate Kristin Carlson led the overall field with just shy of $250,000 raised and $193,000 in the bank, including $75,000 in self-funding.

CD 15 is split between Hillsborough and Polk counties, with about 10 percent of the district’s voters living in Lake County. The district, which voted plus-10 for Donald Trump two years ago, is rated “likely Republican” by Sabato’s Crystal Ball, the prediction newsletter from University of Virginia political science professor Larry Sabato.

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

American Conservative Union endorses Ron DeSantis

One of the nation’s biggest and most influential conservative advocacy groups is endorsing Republican U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis for Florida Governor.

American Conservative Union Chair Matt Schlapp announced the ACU’s support at a rally Friday in Solivita, the massive senior community south of Kissimmee, the DeSantis campaign reported.

In the endorsement, Schlapp praised DeSantis’ conservative record, military background and leadership in Congress.

“Ron DeSantis is a conservative warrior with a proven record of leadership,” Schlapp said in a statement. “He’s served our nation in Iraq, fought for conservative principles in Congress and I know he’ll be a great governor for Florida.”

The American Conservative Union is best known for its annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

DeSantis faces Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in the Aug. 28 Republican gubernatorial primary.

The winner faces the Democratic primary victor, either Andrew Gillum, Chris King, Philip Levine, Gwen Graham or Jeff Greene.

Manny Diaz backing Javier Enriquez in HD 114

Javier Enriquez‘s campaign is announcing a new endorsement from outgoing Representative and current state Senate candidate Manny Diaz.

Enriquez, a Miami Republican, is challenging incumbent state Rep. Javier Fernandez to flip the House District 114 seat from the Democrats.

“Javier Enriquez will be an excellent state representative,” said Diaz in a statement.

“District 114 is his home, and he knows its people and their concerns. Javier will provide solid conservative leadership in the Florida House, and I look forward to working with him.”

Diaz has represented House District 103 since 2012 but is now running in the race for Senate District 36.

Enriquez, who graduated from the University of Miami School of Law and works as an attorney, recently challenged his opponent to a set of three debates. He says he’s grateful Diaz decided to back his campaign.

“It is truly an honor to have Representative Manny Diaz’s support,” said Enriquez in response to the endorsement.

“He is a great example of a public servant, and I have tremendous respect for the work he has done on behalf of his constituents and the entire state. I’m very proud to have his support.”

HD 114 covers parts of Miami-Dade County including West Miami and Cutler Bay.

Jason Pizzo

South Florida firefighters back Jason Pizzo for SD 38

The South Florida Council of Fire Fighters is backing former prosecutor Jason Pizzo in his bid to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Daphne Campbell in the Senate District 38 primary.

“The South Florida Council of Firefighters, representing nearly 3,500 firefighters and their families, commend Jason Pizzo on his willingness to run for and serve in public office, and because of that we wish to endorse him and offer our support to his campaign to become the next Florida State Senator in District 38,” council president John O’Brien said.

“We appreciate his support in helping firefighters overcome the varying challenges facing our members and we look forward to working with him to guarantee top quality fire/rescue services to his constituents. We know that Jason’s heart is in the right place and we will be encouraging our members to support him.”

The firefighter nod is the latest in long list of endorsements for Pizzo, an attorney who was the second-place finisher in the 2016 Democratic primary for the Miami-Dade seat.

Prior labor union endorsements have come in from AFSCME, the Florida Education Association, the United Teachers of Dade and the Florida AFL-CIO, with other backers including LGBTQ rights group Equality Florida, Miami Gardens state Rep. Barbara Watson and an assortment of local elected officials.

“Our firefighters and first responders in Miami-Dade deserve a champion in Tallahassee who will fight for them. They put their lives on the line every single day to keep us safe and protect our families,” Pizzo said. “As the next state senator for District 38, I will do the same with every vote I take and decision I make.”

Pizzo and Campbell are the only candidates vying for SD 38. Since no other candidates qualified for the race, state law will allow all voters, regardless of party affiliation, to cast a ballot in the Aug. 28 primary election.

As of July 20, Campbell had raised about $118,000 for her re-election campaign and had about $20,500 in the bank. Pizzo has not yet filed his report for the middle two weeks of July, but as of last check-in he had raised $106,000 in outside money and kicked in another $150,000 in loans. He had a little over $53,000 in the bank on July 6.

SD 38 covers parts of Miami-Dade County including Miami Beach, North Miami and Bal Harbour. It is a Democratic stronghold that voted plus-52 for Hillary Clinton two years ago.

Pam Bondi bridges Adam Putnam with Donald Trump in new TV ad

Attorney General Pam Bondi is leveraging her relationship with President Donald Trump in an attempt to give her Cabinet colleague Adam Putnam a boost in his gubernatorial campaign.

Putnam’s campaign announced Thursday night that it will begin airing an ad featuring Bondi’s’ support for the Agriculture Commissioner.

But having the Attorney General’s support, one could argue, means having at least some link to the President. The 30-second spot features Bondi saying, “I fought hard to elect President Trump and I’m supporting Adam Putnam for Governor.” Bondi stumped for Trump in 2016, and the Donald J. Trump Foundation has donated to Bondi’s political coffers in the past. 

“Adam will stand with President Trump to get tough on illegal immigration, ban sanctuary cities and deport criminal illegal aliens,” Bondi continues. She also reminds viewers that close to 50 Florida sheriffs have endorsed Putnam. 

The ad follows Putnam’s recent slip in favorability among Florida voters. Three recent polls have shown DeSantis ahead by double digits, and a poll released by Florida Atlantic University on Wednesday showed DeSantis up nine points over Putnam. In another recent poll, the Florida Chamber (which has endorsed Putnam) declared the race a current tie.

DeSantis’ recent success has been linked to Trump’s June intervention in the race, when he tweeted, “Congressman Ron DeSantis, a top student at Yale and Harvard Law School, is running for Governor of the Great State of Florida. Ron is strong on Borders, tough on Crime & big on Cutting Taxes – Loves our Military & our Vets. He will be a Great Governor & has my full Endorsement!”

Trump’s campaign arm has since announced that the President will come to Tampa to tout certain Republicans, DeSantis among them, on July 31.

Watch the ad below:

Police chiefs back Adam Putnam

Republican gubernatorial candidate and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam continued his almost clean sweep of state law enforcement endorsements Thursday with the announced backing of the Florida Police Chiefs Association.

That endorsement adds to Putnam’s list that already includes the Florida Fraternal Order of Police, the Florida Police Benevolent Association and more than 40 county sheriffs, along with his endorsement from the Florida Professional Firefighters.

“It’s clear that Adam Putnam cares about the needs of law enforcement and is ready to provide the support needed to keep Floridians safe,” Amy Mercer, executive director of the Florida Police Chiefs Association, stated in a news release issued by Putnam’s campaign. “He is the only gubernatorial candidate who reached out to the FPCA to learn about the most pressing public safety issues that concern Florida’s police chiefs. We look forward to working with Adam Putnam as Governor to enhance public safety for the residents of Florida and its many visitors.”

Putnam faces U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis in the Aug. 28 Republican gubernatorial primary. The winner gets the winner from among the Democratic candidates: Chris King, Andrew Gillum, Gwen Graham, Jeff Greene, or Philip Levine.

The Florida Police Chiefs Association has more than 900 top law enforcement executives.

“Public safety is job number one. I am honored to have the support of the Florida Police Chiefs Association,” Putnam stated in the release. “Government’s highest responsibility is to protect our citizens. As your governor, I’ll work with our police to keep our communities safe and secure. We must continue Florida’s 47-year decline in crime and that doesn’t happen without the brave men and women who put on the uniform every day. I will fight for our law enforcement officers and that is why they are supporting me to be Florida’s next governor.”

Builders backing Rick Scott

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Gov. Rick Scott picked up another Florida business group’s endorsement with the announcement in Marco Island Thursday that the Associated Builders and Contractors of Florida is backing his campaign.

Scott picked up the endorsement at the annual conference of the group, which represnts 2,500 general contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, and professional associates.

The organization cited Scott’s commitments to cutting taxes, reducing business regulations and supporting workforce development and job growth, in picking him over Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in the November election.

“Construction is one of the top five economic drivers of Florida’s economy, and Gov. Rick Scott has worked tirelessly over the past seven and a half years to support our industry by working to turn around our state’s economy, which has helped create more jobs, grow a booming housing market and welcome millions of new residents to our state,” ABC National Chairman George Nash stated in a news release issued by Scott’s U.S. Senate campaign. “Associated Builders and Contractors and our 1,500 members are proud to offer our support of Governor Rick Scott’s campaign for U.S. Senate. We know he will continue the fight in Washington to create and sustain a business and regulatory environment that will result in a strong Florida economy and a growing workforce.”

It was the second business group endorsement Scott’s campaign announced Thursday, following the Associated Industries of Florida‘s announcement in the morning.

“In the last seven and a half years, we’ve reduced the tax burden on both small and large businesses, returned billions of dollars back to hardworking Florida families, and invested record amounts in transportation and infrastructure. We’ve also cut more than 5,200 burdensome regulations to get government out of the way so businesses can succeed,” Scott stated in the release. “As a result of this hard work, we have seen more than 1.5 million new jobs created in our state, including growth in Florida’s construction industry – a major driver of Florida jobs. I appreciate ABC’s endorsement today, and as a U.S. Senator, I will continue to fight for policies to help all of our industries to thrive.”

Philip Levine getting Disney, South Florida unions’ backing

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Philip Levine is getting the endorsement of two of the largest unions at Walt Disney World and from another representing hospitality workers in South Florida, with a formal announcement set for late Thursday in Orlando.

UNITE HERE Locals 362 and 737, combining to represent 23,000 at Walt Disney World and other Central Florida locations, and Local 355 representing 7,000 workers in South Florida, are picking Levine in the Democratic primary over four rivals.

Local 355 represents hospitality workers in South Florida’s hotels, airports, sports stadiums, and casinos. Local 362 represents attractions, custodial and vacation planning employees Walt Disney World and food service workers in Central Florida. Local 737 represents food and beverage workers and housekeepers at Disney and other locations throughout Central Florida.

“With union workers at Disney on the verge of winning a historic raise to $15, we need a governor who is committed to raising wages for all Floridians,” Eric Clinton, president of UNITE HERE Local 362, stated in a news release. “Phil Levine has taken action to raise wages in South Florida, and we stand with him to help workers across the whole state.”

Levine got the hospitality workers’ backing over his rivals in the Aug. 28 Democratic gubernatorial primary, Jeff Greene, Gwen Graham, Chris King, and Andrew Gillum, and over the Republican frontrunners, Ron DeSantis and Adam Putnam.

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