Bob Doyel snags 20 endorsements in bid to unseat Kelli Stargel

Judge Robert Doyel copy

Democrat Bob Doyel on Monday announced a long list of endorsements for his campaign against incumbent Republican Sen. Kelli Stargel in Senate District 22.

Doyel, a retired circuit court judge, listed 13 endorsements from current and former elected officials in the bulk announcement.

The seven current elected officials: Kissimmee Democratic Rep. John Cortes, Haines City Commissioner Anne Huffman, Lake Hamilton Vice Mayor Mike Kehoe, Dundee Mayor Sam Pennant, newly elected Winter Haven City Commissioner JP Powell, Polk County School Board member Billy Townsend and Haines City Vice Mayor Morris West.

Also on the list were former Winter Haven Sen. Rick Dantzler, former Winter Haven City Commissioner Tom Freijo, former Lakeland City Commissioner Jim Malless, recently retired Public Defender Marion Moorman, former Polk County Commissioner Jean Reed and former theatre director Norm Small.

“Bob Doyel advocates for home rule and public schools,” Freijo said in the press release. “I’ve known him for many years and I’m confident he’ll get things done for the people in our district.”

Also included in the announcement were community leaders Doris Moore Bailey, Ruth Ann Eaddy, Martin Negron, Larry Hardaway, John Perez, Larry Rankin, and Pastor Clifton E. Dollison.

“Receiving so much help from the community – from friends, teachers, former colleagues, and from everyday, concerned citizens – is a deeply moving and humbling experience. I’m running to be the best public servant I can be to the people of Polk and Lake counties, not to the special interests being served in Tallahassee,” Doyel said.

Doyel is running against former state Rep. Ricardo Rangel in the Democratic Primary for the seat. Also challenging Stargel is no-party candidate Ryan Morales.

Through February, Doyel had raised about $51,000 for his campaign and had $39,192 in the bank. His total includes $7,500 in loans.

Rangel, who filed March 13, and Morales, who filed March 16, have yet to filed their first campaign finance reports.

Stargel, who is running for her final term, had brought in $145,700 for her campaign account as of Feb. 28 and had $112,817 on hand. She also has a political committee, Limited Govt for a Stronger Florida Political Committee, with about $106,500 on hand.

SD 22 has a Republican lean despite Democrats having a 10,000-voter edge in registrations.

SD 22 would have voted plus-2 for Mitt Romney in 2012 and plus-11 for Gov. Rick Scott in the 2010 gubernatorial race. In the 2016 race Stargel won re-election over Democrat Debra Wright by 7 points while President Donald Trump carried the district by nearly the same margin.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.

One comment

  • Greg Williams

    March 30, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    Bob is a true “champion of the people”. He brings a powerful combination of compassion, courage, honesty, and humility. Of all the candidates running for any office, Bob is the candidate I respect the most, both politically and personally. Bob is the type of candidate each of us can be proud of supporting without reservation.

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