Florida Senate – Florida Politics

Florida Medical Association PAC backing Daphne Campbell

State Sen. Daphne Campbell has secured the endorsement of the Florida Medical Association PAC (FMA PAC) as she continues to try to hold off primary challenger Jason Pizzo.

“The FMA PAC happily endorses Sen. Daphne Campbell for re-election,” said the group’s president, Dr. Mike Patete. He also referenced Campbell’s status as a registered nurse.

“As a member of the health care team, Sen. Campbell has a deep understanding of the issues that affect the physician community. We hope to continue working with her as we strive to make Florida the best state to practice medicine.”

The PAC is the political arm of the Florida Medical Association, which represents medical and osteopathic physicians throughout Florida.

“I am happy to have the support of Florida physicians in my re-election campaign,” said Campbell of the endorsement.

“As a registered nurse, I offer a unique perspective in the Florida Senate on health care issues. I look forward to continuing working with physicians in creating a health care system that works for all Floridians.”

Campbell attended nursing school in Haiti before moving to Florida.

Her campaign for the Senate District 38 seat was also recently endorsed by the Florida Police Benevolent Association. Pizzo, a Miami attorney, is challenging Campbell for the Democratic nomination in SD 38 after he lost to Campbell in 2016.

The two will face off in the Florida primary Aug. 28. No Republicans are filed to run in the race.

Manny Diaz grabs support of South Florida police union

The Dade County Police Benevolent Association (PBA) is throwing its support behind Manny Diaz in the race for Senate District 36.

Diaz is running for the seat after representing House District 103 since 2012. The SD 36 seat is currently held by Rene Garcia, who is term-limited and has already endorsed Diaz as his replacement.

“As the PBA goes through the screening process, we try to select the very best,” wrote Dade County PBA President Steadman Stahl in a letter to Diaz.

“We feel that you will be one of the very best, and we wish you a successful campaign.”

Diaz is the only Republican in the race to replace Garcia.

David Perez, who served as an aide to former Miaim-Dade County Mayor Alex Penelas, is running on the Democratic side. He’s facing a primary challenge against Julian Santos, a former employee at the Florida Office of Financial Regulation in Miami.

“I am very honored to have the support of the Dade County PBA,” said Diaz.

“I’m grateful for their support of my campaign and for the invaluable service their members provide to our community each and every day. It is vital that we have a strong law enforcement community, and I look forward to continuing to work with them to make sure they are adequately resourced and supported in their important work.”

Diaz holds a large fundraising lead over his Democratic opponents, who only entered the race recently. Perez has pulled in a little more than $20,000, with Santos just crossing the $10,000 mark. Diaz, meanwhile, has raised close to $400,000.

Diaz has also earned support from a wide variety of Miami-Dade County officials.

SD 36 covers portions of Miami-Dade County including Miami Lakes, Hialeah, and Miami Springs.

Pair of Miami Beach pols back Jason Pizzo

Jason Pizzo continues to add support for his campaign against incumbent state Sen. Daphne Campbell, as he earned the endorsements of two Miami Beach politicians Thursday.

Mayor Dan Gelber and Commissioner Micky Steinberg of Miami Beach both say they’re backing Pizzo in his race for the Senate District 38 seat. Pizzo, a Miami attorney, is challenging Campbell in the Democratic primary.

“I am proud to endorse Jason Pizzo,” said Mayor Gelber. “Jason has a pronounced sense of social justice and the background and training of a prosecutor to allow him to effectively advocate for so many of the critical issues important to our residents.”

Gelber previously served in the Florida Senate, representing District 35 from 2008-10. Prior to that, he represented House District 106 in 2000-08. In 2010, Gelber ran for Attorney General, losing to current AG Pam Bondi.

Added Steinberg: “Jason knows that education is the single best investment we can make in our future, which is why I’m proud to endorse his campaign.

“As our next state senator, he’ll fight for every resident in District 38 to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to get ahead. I look forward to tackling our community’s challenges together.”

The two add to a long list of South Florida officials supporting Pizzo in his primary challenge. SD 38 covers parts of Miami-Dade County including Miami Beach, North Miami and Bal Harbour.

“I am proud and humbled to have the support of Mayor Gelber and Commissioner Steinberg,” said Pizzo.

“Together, we will work to bring needed reforms to Tallahassee and ensure that communities like Miami Beach are well represented.”

No Republicans filed to run in SD 38, leaving Pizzo and Campbell to battle it out on their own. The primary election will be held Aug. 28.

Daphne Campbell

Daphne Campbell backed by state’s largest police union

State Sen. Daphne Campbell has earned the endorsement of the state’s largest police union in her fight for re-election in Senate District 38.

The Florida Police Benevolent Association (PBA) is all in for Campbell as she competes with Miami attorney Jason Pizzo for the Democratic nomination in SD 38.

“Sen. Campbell’s previous legislative support for issues important to our association has led to major improvement for our members and their families,” said Florida PBA Executive Director Matt Puckett.

“In the past two years although we have made significant progress, our members will continue to face difficult challenges, which requires sustained legislative support and we believe Sen. Campbell will continue to be a strong voice for law enforcement and their families in the Florida Senate and throughout Senate District 38.”

Campbell responded to the endorsement in a statement.

“Florida’s law enforcement officers protect our families and communities and I am honored to have their support for my re-election,” said Campbell.

“During my time in the Florida Senate, I have worked to build trust between law enforcement and the community while also being a strong voice for Florida’s law enforcement officers and will continue to work in a bipartisan manner to ensure that law enforcement officers have the resources and support needed to keep our committees safe.”

Pizzo has recently earned some union endorsements of his own, after he was backed by the AFL-CIO Florida chapter and the United Teachers of Dade.

The SD 38 primary election will take place Aug. 28. The two are the only candidates who qualified to run, with no Republicans entering the race.

Whoops! Aventura pol says Daphne Campbell endorsement was by mistake

State Sen. Daphne Campbell announced Monday that she had earned four new endorsements from South Florida commissioners in her run for re-election.

Now, it appears one of those endorsements was sent out in error.

Aventura Commissioner Robert Shelley says he is not backing Campbell’s re-election in Senate District 38, but is instead supporting her opponent, Miami attorney Jason Pizzo.

After Florida Politics reported on Campbell’s announcement Monday, the Pizzo campaign produced a signed letter that showed, in fact, Shelley had endorsed Pizzo’s campaign back in April.

We reached out to the Campbell campaign to get a response, and it turns out they too had a signed letter from Commissioner Shelley from June indicating his support for her SD 38 bid.

Shelley spoke to Florida Politics to clear up the confusion, saying his letter of support to the Campbell campaign was likely sent out due to some sort of miscommunication between the two offices.

“I’m not sure how it happened,” said Shelley, noting he is currently out of the country on a trip to London. Asked if he had sent an endorsement letter to the Campbell campaign, he said, “No, absolutely not.”

Shelley says Campbell isn’t to blame, instead it was likely a mistake by his office. “I think it was just a misunderstanding.”

Nevertheless, he says he stands behind his support of Pizzo.

Pizzo is challenging Campbell in the Democratic primary for SD 38 for the second time, after she defeated him and four other challengers back in 2016. The 2018 primary election will be held Aug. 28.

South Florida pols back Daphne Campbell’s re-election bid

As state Sen. Daphne Campbell tries to fend off a tough primary challenge from Miami attorney Jason Pizzo, her campaign announced a new round of endorsements from three city commissioners.

Commissioners Anthony DeFillipo of North Miami Beach, Maxwell Chambers of Miramar and Luciano L. Suarez of West Miami all say they’re throwing their support behind the incumbent.

They add to the list of local officials backing Campbell as she fights to hold onto her Senate District 38 seat.

She was elected in 2016, after serving six years in the House, to a new Senate seat created after court-ordered redistricting. Campbell represents the northeastern corner of Miami-Dade County that includes North Miami and Miami Shores.

“I am honored to be endorsed by another diverse group of city commissioners,” Campbell said. “I think this endorsement comes in part because of my strong record fighting against legislation that seeks to pre-empt city governments and the voices of Miami-Dade citizens.”

She emphasized that desire to fight for the sovereignty of city governments from her seat in the Florida Senate.

“My priority has always been to amplify the voices of citizens and local governments at the state level and I think this is a big part of why local mayors, vice mayors and city commissioners are continuing to join my re-election campaign.”

Pizzo has pulled in a wide range of endorsements as well, however, recently grabbing support from two different teachers’ unions as well as the Florida chapter of the AFL-CIO.

The SD 38 primary is Aug. 28.

(UPDATE: This article originally listed Aventura Commissioner Robert Shelley as one of those endorsing state Sen. Campbell’s campaign. However, Shelley says that endorsement letter was sent out in error, and that he is supporting her opponent, Jason Pizzo. The story has been corrected.)

Jack Latvala prosecution decision will likely come next week

The capital area’s top prosecutor on Monday said a decision whether to press charges in the Jack Latvala investigation won’t come till next week at the earliest.

A spokesperson for State Attorney Jack Campbell said Friday a decision could have come as early as this week.

Campbell called Florida Politics Monday morning to say he was now “getting deeper” into the 90-page report.

“I am off the Fourth and taking off Thursday and Friday, so I can promise I will not offer an opinion before then,” he said.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has delivered its findings to Campbell, the chief elected prosecutor for the 2nd Judicial Circuit, which includes Tallahassee.

Latvala, a former state senator from Clearwater, was under investigation for months following complaints of sexual misconduct that led to his resignation from office in December.

Campbell previously said he would review the FDLE’s findings and decide whether to press criminal charges against Latvala, who first served in the Senate 1994-2002, then returned in 2010. He would have been term-limited this year.

Latvala has said that his “political adversaries have latched onto this effort to rid our country of sexual harassment to try to rid the Florida Senate of me.” He also admitted, however, that he “ … perhaps (had not) kept up with political correctness in my comments as well as I should have.”

A special master’s report released by the Senate found Latvala “on multiple occasions” offered to trade his vote for sex with a female lobbyist. Special Master Ronald V. Swanson recommended the sexual harassment allegations against the veteran lawmaker be investigated by criminal prosecutors.

Another investigation into sexual harassment claims against Latvala, prompted by a POLITICO Florida story, turned up a witness who bolsters an allegation that the senator would offer to trade sex for favorable votes on legislation.

Tallahassee attorney Steve Andrews, who represents Latvala, declined comment Monday.

Campbell, first elected in 2016 after serving as an assistant prosecutor for years, is a Democrat. Latvala is a Republican.

Jason Pizzo

United Teachers of Dade endorses Jason Pizzo in SD 38 race

Jason Pizzo has grabbed the endorsement of the United Teachers of Dade (UTD) in his Democratic challenge to incumbent state Sen. Daphne Campbell.

Pizzo, a Miami attorney, is competing with Campbell in the Senate District 38 primary. No Republicans filed to run in the race.

The teachers’ union released a statement explaining why they’re supporting Pizzo.

“We believe that he will make a difference in Tallahassee by voting pro-public schools, working towards sound education policies, and looking to improve the lives of working people,” said UTD President Karla Hernandez-Mats.

“We know that by doing so, Jason will help us positively impact the 350,000-plus children that we educate every day.”

Pizzo thanked the group for their support in response to the news.

“Our teachers are directly responsible for our future success which is why we have a responsibility to support them with adequate pay and the right to collectively bargain,” said Pizzo.

“I’m honored to have the support of UTD, an organization who champions our teachers. As state senator, I will not quit until our educators and school staff are no longer under-appreciated and underpaid in Florida.”

Pizzo is gunning for the SD 38 seat after losing to Campbell in the 2016 primary. Voters will decide between the two on August 28.

Lauren Book re-elected without opposition

Lauren Book has made quite a statement as a first-term state Senator, so much so that she is one of 25 Florida lawmakers who did not draw a single challenger for the 2018 midterms.

That means Book, a young star in the Florida Democratic Party, has already clinched her re-election to Senate District 32. That’s earned her a fresh four-year term in the Senate.

Book spoke to Florida Politics after the news became official and reflected on her time spent in the Senate so far, as well as the work still left to do.

“It is an honor to be re-elected without opposition to the Florida Senate. We have worked hard to be a strong and effective voice for the people of our district, for Broward County, and for the state of Florida.”

She added, “We have accomplished a great deal in the first two years but know there is so much more to do to improve our public schools — including making them safer — to clean our water, to bring high-quality jobs and, of course, to stand up to those who too often have no voice.”

Book made her name in the state well before her time in the Senate. The daughter of high-profile lobbyist Ron Book, she founded the nonprofit organization Lauren’s Kids in 2007, which advocates on behalf of victims of child sex abuse.

But Book has been active during her time in the Senate so far as well. She’s pushed bills advocating for increased contraceptive coverage and incentivizing restaurants to add more baby changing stations.

She’s attempted to address the issue of human trafficking, a shockingly large problem in the state.

And most recently, Book has been involved in addressing school safety issues in the aftermath of the Stoneman Douglas shooting that left 17 dead.

Book has spoken with and offered help to several survivors of the massacre. She also serves on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High SchoolPublic Safety Commission, established to help identify and address deficiencies in school safety measures following the February tragedy.

Now, Book will continue that work after securing re-election.

“Thank you to everyone who has and will continue to be a part of this effort.”

Jason Pizzo

Jason Pizzo nabs AFL-CIO endorsement for SD 38

Miami attorney Jason Pizzo now has the backing of the AFL-CIO Florida chapter in his run for Senate District 38.

Pizzo is competing in the Democratic primary against incumbent state Sen. Daphne Campbell. Despite his challenge to a sitting senator, he’s been able to pull in a wide range of endorsements during his campaign.

The Florida chapter of the AFL-CIO, which is the largest federation of unions in the country, is the latest group to support Pizzo’s bid.

“With over 500 local labor unions, 10 councils, and over one million union members, retirees, and their families in the State of Florida, our endorsement can make a difference in his campaign,” said Florida AFL-CIO President Mike Williams.

“We wish Jason luck in his endeavor and look forward to working with him now and after his victory!”

In addition to the various endorsements of his campaign, Pizzo has also earned sizable fundraising totals to compete with Campbell.

“For too long, working families in Florida have had the odds stacked against them with anti-union legislation decimating their ability to fight for the wages and benefits that they deserve,” said Pizzo in reaction to the news.

“With this endorsement from an organization who serves the backbones of our society, our workers, we take one step closer to reverse the harmful measures that hurt our competitiveness and quality of life. I thank the Florida AFL-CIO for their support and look forward to working with them and the rest of our coalition all the way to Election Day on August 28.”

August 28 is the day primary voters will head to the polls to choose the Democratic nominee in SD 38. That will be followed by the general election on November 6.

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