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Stephanie Murphy gets former Puerto Rico official Kenneth McClintock’s backing

Despite a significant and growing population of Puerto Rican migrants, Florida’s 7th Congressional District campaigns have largely lacked the Puerto Rican flavor of those in neighboring districts — until now, with Democrat Stephanie Murphy announcing an endorsement Tuesday from Kenneth McClintock.

He is a former lieutenant governor, secretary of state, and senate president of Puerto Rico. He is a member of Puerto Rico’s New Progressive Party, aligned with the stateside Democratic Party.

Murphy is challenging Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. John Mica in CD 7, which covers Seminole County and much of north-central and northeast Orange County. The corridor between State Roads 436 and 417 have growing Hispanic communities, largely dominated by Puerto Rican migrants.

In a news release issued by Murphy’s campaign, McClintock took up the theme she and other Democrats have pressed against Mica, seeking to tie him to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and the GOP right wing.

“While Republican members of Congress have continued supporting Donald Trump’s divisive and bigoted rhetoric against Hispanics, women, war heroes and others, and has empowered the tea party that has taken over the current Republican majority in the House, Stephanie Murphy has been a true friend of Hispanics and of all of us who want a Congress that works,” McClintock stated in the release.

“In particular, Puerto Rican voters in Central Florida will find in Stephanie Murphy a committed public servant who will stand by Puerto Rico, vote to extend equality in the earned income tax credit, child tax credits, and other programs that will help lift Puerto Rico out of its crisis, and focus on the needs of Hispanics nationwide,” he added. “As a Vietnamese-American who came to our country as a refugee fleeing communism, Stephanie already is a champion for minorities and the principle of equality.”

Murphy expressed pride to receive his endorsement.

“Kenneth is a fierce advocate for Puerto Ricans, both in Central Florida and across the United States, and I look forward to working with him and other leaders to empower the Hispanic community,” she stated in the release. “In Congress, I will fight discriminatory policies and champion ideas to grow an economy that works for everyone.”

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 scott@floridapolitics.com.

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