Randolph Bracy, Marlene O’Toole, Mike Clelland, Vic Torres get Sentinel endorsements in Florida Senate races

Orlando Sentinel

Three sitting state representatives and one former state representative have received endorsements from the Orlando Sentinel for Florida Senate primary races in Central Florida.

Citing experience in each case, the Sentinel went with state Reps. Randolph Bracy in Orlando-based Senate District 11; Marlene O’Toole in The Villages-based Senate District 12; and Vic Torres in Orlando-based Senate District 15. The pick in Orlando-based Senate District 13 is former state Rep. Mike Clelland.

In most cases the Sentinel noted that primary candidates also have experience, but made the endorsements also based on who was most effective and willing to work across the aisle.

Bracy faces former state Sen. Gary Siplin, former state Rep. Bob Sindler and environmental activist Chuck O’Neal in the Aug. 30 primary. Bracy, the Sentinel said, “has served as his party’s ranking member on tbe House Criminal Justice Subcommittee. He has worked well with the Legislature’s Republican majority.”

O’Toole faces fellow state Rep. Dennis Baxley and businessman David Gee. The Sentinel criticized Baxley for pursuing politically divisive issues, while calling O’Toole “a strong conservative, but more pragmatic than her opponents.”

Clelland faces fellow former state Rep. Linda Stewart and former Orange County School Board Member Rick Roach. The Sentinel praised them all, but called Clelland “a quick study on issues, [who] made ethics reform his signature issue during his term in the Legislature. He was willing to work across the aisle with the Legislature’s Republican majority, a smart strategy for Democrats who hope to be effective. “

Torres faces Kissimmee businessman Bob Healy in the primary. The Sentinel declared Torres “an active and effective legislator” who “worked well with Republicans on measures to improve public safety and prevent domestic violence. He helped lead the successful fight to make in-state tuition at state universities and colleges available to undocumented immigrants.”


Scott Powers

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 [email protected].


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