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Marco Rubio posts list of 80 current, former Florida officials backing him

Trying to wrestle Florida back from Palm Beach snowbird resident Donald Trump in time for Florida’s March 15 presidential primary, Florida’s U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio posted a list Friday of more than 80 current and former Florida elected officials endorsing him.

It’s an impressive list because of all who are on it.

It starts with old friend Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and two got-next stars of the state GOP, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. It contains virtually the entire  Florida House leadership, five former speakers, several former state office holders, and scores of current state senators and representatives.

What’s also impressive is who is not on the list, showing Rubio still has plenty of campaigning to do, and perhaps opportunities for big announcements, before the fast-approaching primary. Recent polls show Trump with a double-digit lead over Rubio in Florida.

For starters, Rubio’s list of endorsements does not include governors. Current Gov. Rick Scott has flirted with Trump. And the former Florida governor who could bring a parade of additional endorsements with him, Rubio’s former GOP presidential rival Jeb Bush, has stayed mum since dropping out.

There is only one member of Congress listed, Rubio’s state campaign co-chairman U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney. Former U.S. Sens. Mel Martinez and George LeMieux are not on the list. Neither is Attorney General Pam Bondi. And the Florida Senate leadership is thinly represented, notably missing Senate President Andy Gardiner and Senate President-designate Joe Negron.

The Florida is MARCO RUBIO Country page on Rubio’s campaign website features written endorsements from Rooney, Lopez-Cantera, Atwater, Putnam, Florida House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, Speaker-designate Richard Corcoran, and former House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, Rubio’s other state co-chairman.

“Our growing support in Florida is a strong sign that we’ll have the team in place to turn out the early vote in the coming weeks and close the deal with a victory on March 15,” Hasner stated in his endorsement.

Here is who Rubio has listed so far:

Among current statewide elected officials: Lopez-Cantera, Atwater and Putnam.

Former ones: Former Lt. Gov. Bobby Brantley, Former CFO Tom Gallagher, Former Attorney General Bill McCollum, former Secretary of State Sandy Mortham.

House leadership: Crisafulli, Corcoran and House Majority Leader Dana Young.

Former House speakers: Dean Cannon, Larry Cretul, Allan Bense, Johnnie Byrd and Tom Feeney.

Central Florida lawmakers: Sens. Thad Altman, Denise Grimsley, David Simmons and Kelli Stargel; Reps. Dennis Baxley, Jason Brodeur, Colleen Burton, Bob Cortes, Fred Costello, Eric Eisnaugle, Mike La Rosa, Mike Miller, Edwin Cary Pigman, Scott Plakon, Rene Plasencia, Charlie Stone, Jennifer Sullivan, John Wood and Ritch Workman.

North Florida lawmakers: Sens. Aaron Bean and Travis Hutson; Reps. Travis Cummings, Charles McBurney, Keith Perry, Elizabeth Porter, Lake Ray and Cyndi Stevenson.

Palm Beach/Treasure Coast lawmakers: Reps. Bill Hager, Gayle Harrell, MaryLynn Magar, Debbie Mayfield and Patrick Rooney.

Panhandle lawmakers: Reps. Doug Broxson, Brad Drake, and Clay Ingram.

South Florida lawmakers: Sens. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, Anitere Flores and Rene Garcia. Reps. Frank Artiles, Bryan Avila, Michael Bileca, Jose Felix Diaz, Manny Diaz Jr., Erik Fresen, George Moraitis, Jeanette Nunez, Jose Oliva and Holly Raschein.

Tampa Bay/Sarasota lawmakers: Sens. Jeff Brandes, Nancy Detert, Jack Latvala and Tom Lee; Reps. Jim Boyd, Daniel Burgess Jr., Julio Gonzalez, Jamie Grant, Shawn Harrison, Chris Latvala, Ray Pilon, Jake Raburn, Dan Raulerson, Ray Rodrigues, Jimmie T. Smith, Ross Spano and Chris Sprowls.

Southwest lawmakers: Sen. Garrett Richter; Reps. Matt Caldwell, Dane Eagle, Heather Fitzenhagen and Ken Roberson.


Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at

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