Rick Scott to attend event for CD 19 candidate Francis Rooney
Francis Rooney is calling on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to

Francis Rooney for Congress (Large)

Gov. Rick Scott is lending a hand to a fellow Southwest Florida Republican’s campaign.

Scott will join Francis Rooney for a campaign event on July 15. The event, which will support Rooney’s congressional campaign, is scheduled for 6 p.m. in Naples. The invitation did not list an event location.

“I’m honored to have Governor Rick Scott’s support and endorsement,” the former ambassador tweeted Wednesday afternoon.

The show of support marks the first time Scott has endorsed in the Florida primary. Scott, who ran as an outsider in 2010 primary against Republican Bill McCullum, does not generally endorse in primaries.

He shied away from endorsing before the 2016 presidential preference primary, waiting until after the March 15 primary to endorse Republican Donald Trump. And he has shied away from endorsing candidates in other must watch Republican races.

Rooney, the former ambassador to the Holy See and a longtime Bush family supporter, is running in Florida’s 19th Congressional District. He’s vying to replace Rep. Curt Clawson, who announced he will not seek re-election.

Scott and Rooney both live in the ritzy Port Royal neighborhood in Naples, but they’re more than just neighbors. Rooney, a prolific Republican fundraiser, donated $25,000 in 2014 to Let’s Get to Work, the political committee backing Scott’s re-election bid. And in 2010, Rooney and his wife, Kathleen, were selected to chair Scott’s inaugural committee.

But Scott isn’t the only well-known Southwest Floridian lending a hand to Rooney. In a new advertisement, Ave Maria University President Jim Towey talks up Rooney’s pro-life credentials.

“Francis Rooney is one of those people that is going to give a voice to the same values that Mother Teresa espoused, starting with defending the sanctity of life and defunding Planned Parenthood,” said Towey, who served as legal counsel Mother Teresa of Calcutta, in the ad. “He embraces what Mother Teresa lived. We need more people like Francis Rooney in Washington.”

Towey was the director of the White House Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives under George W. Bush. He also served as the director of the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services under Gov. Lawton Chiles.

Rooney will face Chauncey Goss and Dan Bongino in the Aug. 30 Republican primary. The district, which includes most of Lee County and coastal Collier County, is a Republican stronghold.




Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster


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