endorsement – Page 7 – Florida Politics
ashley moody

Ashley Moody adds trio of sheriff endorsements

Three more county sheriffs announced their support for Attorney General candidate Ashley Moody Tuesday, piling on to her insurmountable lead in law enforcement endorsements.

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister, Columbia County Sheriff Mark Hunter and Jefferson County Sheriff Alfred Kenneth ‘Mac’ McNeill, Jr. joined the three-dozen Republican sheriffs who have already endorsed Moody, a former litigator, federal prosecutor and circuit court judge.

“As our next Attorney General, Ashley Moody will be a strong champion for keeping people safe. As a former federal prosecutor and judge, she’s put criminals behind bars while upholding the rule of law. That’s why I’m proud to endorse her candidacy and I encourage all of my friends here in Columbia County and throughout Florida to do the same,” Hunter said.

McNeill added, “Ashley Moody has the experience, knowledge, and drive to get the job done. She’s the tough conservative we need as our next Attorney General.”

Chronister said Moody, a Hillsborough native, “isn’t just the most qualified and best choice, she’s the only choice.”

Moody thanked the sheriffs for their support, adding that the 39 sheriffs who have lined up behind her statewide campaign make up more than 80 percent of Republican sheriffs in Florida. She also touted a recent primary endorsement she received from the Florida Police Benevolent Association alongside Tampa Rep. Sean Shaw, who is running in the Democratic Primary.

Half of the remaining Republican sheriffs – those in Escambia, Okaloosa, Putnam, Santa Rosa and St. Johns counties – have thrown their support behind Moody’s top rival in the primary race, Pensacola Rep. Frank White.

The third Republican in the race, Jacksonville Rep. Jay Fant, hasn’t landed any sheriff endorsements, instead touting support from his colleagues in the House and a long list of Republicans who worked as county chairs for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Moody currently leads the three-way race in fundraising with $2.19 million raised to date, though White leads in cash on hand due a substantial amount of self-funding by way of his wife and her family. He had $2 million banked as of April 30, and a source close to his campaign said he threw in another $1.25 million this month.

Fant is at the back of the pack with $839,000 banked, including $750,000 in loans.

The primary election is Aug. 28.

Medley mayor endorses SD 36 candidate Manny Diaz

Roberto Martell has become the fifth Miami-Dade County mayor to back Manny Diaz in his bid for Senate District 36.

“There is no question that Manny Diaz is fully prepared to be an outstanding senator,” said Medley Mayor Martell. “His time in the Florida House has been characterized by forward thinking, hard work, and attention to constituent needs. He has been a strong partner for the Town of Medley, and I look forward to continuing to work with him.”

Diaz has represented House District 103 since 2012. He’s now looking to serve SD 36, which covers parts of Broward and Miami-Dade counties. If successful, he’ll replace outgoing Sen. Rene Garcia, who is term-limited.

Aiding Diaz in that pursuit is the growing support of Miami-Dade mayors. Last week, Diaz added endorsements from Doral Mayor Juan Carlos Bermudez and Miami Lakes Mayor Manny Cid. Diaz has also previously been endorsed by Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez and Hialeah Gardens Mayor Yioset De La Cruz.

Diaz can now count the Medley mayor among his supporters. Mayor Martell was elected back in 2012 and re-elected in 2016. He’s the founder of Martell Construction and also started the Town of Medley Chamber of Commerce in 2010.

“Mayor Martell is an outstanding leader,” said Diaz. “It’s been a privilege to work with him on behalf of the citizens of Medley, and I’m honored by his endorsement. I look forward to continuing to partner with him and all the local leaders in Miami-Dade County.”

Diaz is the favorite to take the SD 36 seat. He’s the only Republican registered to run and has pulled in impressive fundraising totals, crossing the $500,000 mark in his most recent filing. Muhammad Amin, the only Democrat who has filed to run, has not yet declared any fundraising information with the Florida Division of Elections.

Greg Steube - CD 17 Campaign Photo

Veterans group picks Greg Steube for CD 17

Sarasota Republican Sen. Greg Steube has earned the backing of veterans group With Honor in his bid to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney in Florida’s 17th Congressional District.

With Honor’s mission is to “help elect principled next-generation veterans to office who will work in a cross-partisan way to create a more effective and less polarized government.” Candidates endorsed by the group must make a three-point pledge to always speak the truth, always respect their colleagues and to defend the rights of all Americans – even if that means reaching across the aisle.

Steube is a former U.S. Army Captain who is a veteran of the Iraq War.

“I am honored to be supported by those who have served our country. Congress needs leaders who will fix the dysfunction and act on principle. I look forward to giving our veterans another voice in Congress and am thrilled to receive the backing of such a worthy organization,” he said.

Steube was elected to the Florida House in 2010 and moved up to the Florida Senate in 2016. He was the first major candidate to announce a run for CD 17 after Rooney’s said he would not seek re-election in the fall.

He started his campaign with dozens of backers, including Senate President Joe Negron, Senate President Designate Bill Galvano, Senate Majority Leader Wilton Simpson, Naples Republican Sen. Kathleen Passidomo and Lakeland Republican Sen. Kelli Stargel.

Sarasota state Rep. Julio Gonzalez joined him in the Republican Primary shortly after the 2018 Legislative Session wrapped, while Port Charlotte Republican Bill Akins filed well before Rooney’s announcement.

All three will be on the Aug. 28 Republican Primary ballot.

Through March 31, Gonzalez led the money race with nearly $234,000 in contributions during the first few weeks of his campaign compared to $63,550 for Steube. Gonzalez’ total includes $150,000 in candidate loans, while Steube’s includes $15,000.

CD 17 sprawls across parts of Sarasota, Lee and Polk counties as well as the whole of Charlotte, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Highlands and Okeechobee counties. It is rated “safe Republican” by Sabato’s Crystal Ball, the prediction newsletter from University of Virginia political science professor Larry Sabato.

Denise Grimsley

Four more lawmen back Denise Grimsley for Ag Commissioner

Another four county sheriffs have lined up behind Sebring Sen. Denise Grimsley’s bid to take over for termed-out Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.

Joining the 10 sheriffs who have already announced their support for Grimsley are Clay Sheriff Darryl Daniels, Gulf Sheriff Mike Harrison, Levy Sheriff Bobby McCallum and Vollusia Sheriff Mike Chitwood.

“I am honored to gain the endorsement of these four highly respected sheriffs, who have dedicated themselves and their careers to protecting and serving their communities,” Grimsley said. “I look forward to continuing to meet with the law enforcement community on the campaign trail and earning their significant support.

“With consumer protection at the forefront of what the Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services does, I will work closely with law enforcement to eliminate threats from fraudsters and scammers, including defending Floridians from skimmers at gas stations to ending predatory robocalls. I’ve spent my time on the campaign trail talking to Florida’s sheriffs about these important issues, so I will be ready on Day One to protect Florida consumers from threats.”

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 four terms in the House and served as the chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee during the 2018 Legislative Session.

She faces Lehigh Acres Rep. Matt Caldwell, retired U.S. Army Col. Mike McCalister and former Winter Haven Rep. Baxter Troutman in the Republican Primary for the statewide post.

As of April 30, she and Caldwell were neck-and-neck in the money race, each with about $1.9 million in total fundraising. Caldwell leads Grimsley in cash on hand by about $100,000. Troutman campaign account is technically the flushest, though that’s only thanks to $3 million in self-funding. McCallister has raised just $2 so far.

The primary election is Aug. 28.

Ross Spano

Ross Spano lands Pam Bondi’s support in CD 15 primary

State Rep. Ross Spano landed a big endorsement for his congressional campaign Monday: Attorney General Pam Bondi.

“Today, I am proud to endorse my friend Ross Spano to be the next Congressman in Florida’s 15th District. Along with being a fighter for the people of Florida, Ross is a tried and true rock solid Conservative who will go to Washington, defend our Conservative values and partner with President [Donald] Trump in advancing his America First agenda. I hope the people of Hillsborough, Polk and Lake counties will join me in supporting Ross Spano,” Bondi said.

The announcement dropped shortly after Republican Primary rival Neil Combee announced another wave of local endorsements, this time within Spano’s home turf in Hillsborough. Bondi’s endorsement is the biggest thus far among the dozen candidates, including six Republicans, running to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross.

“I am extremely humbled to receive Attorney General Pam Bondi’s endorsement. She is a Conservative leader whom I have been able to work alongside for the last six years to protect Floridians and our shared Conservative values,” Spano said. “The Attorney General and I have worked tirelessly to eradicate human trafficking from Florida and although there is much more to do, we have made huge strides. I look forward to continuing our collaborative efforts once I am elected to Congress.”

The one-time Attorney General candidate – Bondi opted to support former circuit court judge Ashley Moody in that contest – has now been endorsed by more than a dozen current and former elected officials.

Past endorsements include state Reps. Sam Killebrew, Jake Raburn, former state Rep. Rich Glorioso, Hillsborough Tax Collector Doug Belden, Hillsborough Commissioner Al Higginbotham, Polk Commissioners George Lindsey and John Hall, Plant City Mayor Rick Lott, Plant City Commissioner Bill Dodson, former Plant City Mayor Randy Larson, and former Plant City Commissioner Billy Keel.

Spano faces Combee, Sean HarperDanny KushmerCurt Rogers and Ed Shoemaker in the Republican Primary. Also running are Democrats Kristen CarlsonAndrew Learned and Ray Pena as well as three write-in candidates.

About half of CD 15’s Republican voters live in Hillsborough County and another two-fifths live in Polk while a small slice lives in Lake County. The district 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.

Neil Combee’s congressional campaign adds Hillsborough support

The endorsements keep rolling in for former state Rep. Neil Combee, who is running to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross in Florida’s 15th Congressional District.

With the addition of Dover state Rep. Lawrence McClure, former state Reps. Rachel Burgin and Carl Carpenter as well as Temple Terrace Mayor Mel Jurado, Combee’s list of backers now includes 20 current and former elected officials within the three-county Congressional district.

“Neil is a proven conservative who has worked tirelessly to see our country and President Trump succeed. As a rancher, Neil is uniquely qualified to advocate for our agricultural industry. I am proud to endorse Neil Combee to represent us in Washington,” McClure said.

Carpenter added that he’s “seen a lot of Congressmen come and go but “Combee is the real deal and is the only candidate that can keep the liberals at bay.” Burgin said Combee was “a man with true grit” and that his “proven track record in public service, and his strong agricultural background” make him her pick in the crowded CD 15 primary.

Jurado’s endorsement was more on the light-hearted side and even included an acronym for the Auburndale Republican’s name.

“I have been privileged to work alongside Neil Combee on policy and governance issues.  What I know about N.E.I.L.: N.o-nonsense — not about ‘yaption’, but about ‘action.’ E.xcellence — high standards, with an expectation of results. I.ntegrity — character-driven. L.eadership — specifically, Neil is a servant-leader, focused on delivering what benefits others, not self. This is why I support Neil Combee to be our next Congressman,” said Jurado, who is also a former director of the Florida Office of Early Learning.

The four endorsements announced Monday all came from the Hillsborough portion of CD 15, and follow a dozen backers from Polk County and a quartet of Lake County nods announced last week. His campaign claims yet again that “there will be many more to come.”

“The momentum is continuing to build, and I am so excited to have these great folks in Hillsborough give their endorsements. They will go a long way to helping us win this Primary,” Combee said.

Combee faces Dover state Rep. Ross SpanoSean HarperDanny KushmerCurt Rogers and Ed Shoemaker in the Republican Primary. Also running for the seat are Democrats Kristen CarlsonAndrew Learned and Ray Pena as well as three write-in candidates.

About half of CD 15’s Republican voters live in Hillsborough County and another two-fifths live in Polk, while a small slice live in Lake County. The district is rated “likely Republican” by Sabato’s Crystal Ball, the prediction newsletter from University of Virginia political science professor Larry Sabato.

Neil Combee adds Lake County support for CD 15 campaign

After two waves of Polk County endorsements for his Congressional campaign, Auburndale Republican Neil Combee is announced some Lake County supporters Friday.

Joining the dozen or so backers already lined up behind the former state representative were Lake County Sheriff Peyton Grinnell, Lake County Property Appraiser Carey Baker, Lake County Commissioner Sean Parks and state Sen. Dennis Baxley, who lives in Marion County but represents most of Lake in the Senate.

“It is important to me that we have someone in Congress that will support those of us who protect the community. I have no doubt that Neil Combee will fight for law enforcement personnel and others who keep our country safe,” Grinnell said.

Baker cited Combee’s positions on the military, veterans, and the 2nd Amendment in his enforcement ; Parks said he’s behind Combee because of “his history of fighting for the average person, and for working to keep Florida and this country good for small business and workers.”

Baxley added that “no candidate will fight to Make America Great Again and help the President on Capitol Hill like Neil Combee. That’s why I’m behind Combee for Congress 100 percent.”

In accepting the endorsements, Combee said “to have these key folks in Lake County support me and my campaign means the world to me. I have great respect for all of them, and it warms my heart to know that these great leaders in Lake County believe in me and my campaign to be the next congressman for Florida’s 15th Congressional District.”

Combee is one of a dozen candidates running for CD 15, which opened up after U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross said he wouldn’t run for re-election in 2018.

Combee faces Dover state Rep. Ross SpanoSean HarperDanny KushmerCurt Rogers and Ed Shoemaker in the Republican Primary. Also running for the seat are Democrats Kristen CarlsonAndrew Learned and Ray Pena as well as three write-in candidates.

Most of CD 15’s voters live in Hillsborough or Polk, though about 10 percent are in Lake County. The district is rated “likely Republican” by Sabato’s Crystal Ball, the prediction newsletter from University of Virginia political science professor Larry Sabato.

Tommy Gregory HD 73

Tommy Gregory endorsed by former Manatee Sheriff

Republican Tommy Gregory announced Thursday that former Manatee Sherriff Brad Steube has endorsed his campaign to replace Rep. Joe Gruters in House District 73.

“Tommy Gregory’s character and values will make him a very effective legislator,” Steube said. “His military career demonstrates his commitment to public service, and I believe he will bring the same determination and skill to the Florida House. I am pleased to endorse him and urge all District 73 voters to support him.”

Steube was Manatee County sheriff from 2007 through 2016. He joins current Sarasota Sheriff Tom Knight in endorsing Gregory, a Sarasota attorney. He has also been endorsed by former state Sen. Lisa Carlton and Steve Vernon, the second-place finisher in the 2016 HD 73 Republican Primary.

“Sheriff Steube really modeled community leadership during his time in office,” said Gregory. “I appreciate the example he set, and I’m honored to have his support. I look forward to working with him and other local leaders to find policy solutions that will help us overcome our area’s challenges and make the most of our opportunities.”

Gregory faces Melissa Howard in the Republican Primary race. The winner of that contest has the best odds to replace Gruters in the Republican stronghold.

HD 73 is open due to Gruters’ decision to run for the Senate seat currently held by Sarasota Republican Sen. Greg Steube. Gruters is Howard’s campaign treasurer.

As of April 30, Howard leads Gregory in hard money fundraising with nearly $125,000 raised, including $100,000 in candidate loans, to his $56,000. Gregory has the advantage when soft money is included. His committee, Friends of Tommy Gregory, has $85,000 banked, giving him a combined $132,220 on hand compared to $123,900 for Howard.

HD 73 covers parts of Manatee and Sarasota, with more than 85 percent of the district’s voters residing in Manatee County. The district massively favors Republicans, who make up nearly half of the electorate compared to a 25 percent share for Democrats.

Indian Rocks Beach commissioners back Nick DiCeglie for House District 66

Three members of the Indian Rocks Beach City Commission announced Thursday that they are backing Belleair Bluffs businessman Nick DiCeglie in the Republican Primary for House District 66, currently held by termed-out Rep. Larry Ahern.

The endorsements came in from Commissioners Phil Hannah, Ed Hoofnagle and Nick Palomba.

“It is my honor, and without reservation, I endorse Nick DiCeglie for State Representative for House District 66,” Hannah said. “I have had the distinct pleasure to know Nick and his family for over a decade. When Nick comes to mind, I first think of integrity; his word is his bond. As owner of a small business, he knows what it is like to put the key in the door of his operation each morning, and how the solid decisions he makes affect the people he employs and their families. I am thankful that he is stepping up to the challenge. Nick has my full support.”

Hoofnagle said, “He will represent our voice in Tallahassee and will help to keep our local views at the forefront of discussions in our state capital. Nick is an excellent candidate who exemplifies conservative values and hard work. He’s a great person and a role model for many of us.”

Palomba added, “Not only are Nick and his family longtime residents of Indian Rocks Beach, he also runs an award-winning small business. He brings honesty, integrity and a hard-working blue-collar mindset that we need to ensure our district is represented in Tallahassee. I believe when you are willing to endorse someone it is important to get to know them, understand their vision, know they are willing to listen and of course, know he is a man of honor. Nick, of course, is all of the above. With all that is happening in our city and state, it is great to know that we have someone who lives in our community to represent us in the Florida House of Representatives.”

DiCeglie runs Clearwater-based trash removal and recycling company Solar Sanitation and is the current chair of the Republican Party of Pinellas County. He said he was “honored” to receive the commissioners’ support.

“We all share a business-first philosophy toward creating jobs and encouraging enterprise in our community and I look forward to working with them to better the lives for the residents in Indian Rocks Beach and House District 66,” he said.

Their endorsements add to a long list of Republicans supporting DiCeglie in his primary race against Seminole attorney Berny Jacques. Past endorsements for DiCeglie include Pinellas County Commissioner Dave Eggers, Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller Ken Burke, as well as Largo Mayor Woody Brown and City Commissioner Curtis Holmes.

Democrat Alex Heeren is also running for the seat, though the Republican nominee has the best odds of succeeding Ahern in the western Pinellas district.

HD 66 covers includes part of Clearwater, Belleair, Indian Rocks Beach and Indian Shores.

Bobby Olszewski picks up I-Drive Chamber endorsement

Republican state Rep. Bobby Olszewski has picked up the endorsement of the International Drive Resort Area Chamber of Commerce, the powerful Orlando tourism organization that also is in his district.

Olszewski, who came to office in a special election last October, represents Florida House District 44 covering southwest Orange County, including most of the Orlando area’s major tourism attractions. The I-Drive Chamber membership includes almost all but the Walt Disney World theme parks, the Orange County Convention Center and scores of resort hotels and smaller attractions.

Earlier Olszewski picked up the endorsement of the Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association.

“I am honored to receive the endorsement today from the International Drive Chamber of Commerce for my re-election in Florida House District 44,” Olszewski, of Winter Garden, stated in a news release issued by his re-election campaign. “With the Orange County Convention Center, Universal Studios, and Sea World in addition to all of the world-class hotels, restaurants, and attractions serving the I-Drive area, I look forward to doing all I can to help promote a positive tourism, hospitality, and pro-business environment.”

Normally the district is an easy Republican hold, but Olszewski has drawn a number of Democratic challengers this year, including businessman Eddy Dominguez, whom Olszewski defeated last October; former state Sen. Geraldine Thompson; progressive activist Margaret Melanie Gold; and real estate agent Matt Matin.

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