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Joe Abruzzo throws his endorsement to Tina Polsky.

South Florida

Joe Abruzzo endorses Tina Polsky as his successor in HD 81

HD 81 candidate Tina Polsky has won the support of the lawmaker she’s running to succeed.

Rep. Joe Abruzzo, who announced he would not run for re-election to his HD 81 seat, is officially endorsing Polsky in her Democratic primary matchup against Mindy Koch.

“Over the past several months I have witnessed Tina’s tireless advocacy around our community,” said Abruzzo. “As the former State Senator of our area and current State Representative, I proudly endorse Tina Polsky to be my successor.”

Polsky had originally filed to run in the HD 89 race to succeed Republican Bill Hager, who is term-limited. But after Abruzzo’s announcement, Polsky swapped into the HD 81 race. Abruzzo’s seat is likely a much easier target for a Democrat. The past two elections have seen the Democratic candidate run unopposed.

Since making the switch she’s picked up endorsements from newly elected Sen. Lori Berman, Sen. Kevin Rader, Rep. Matt Willhite, Palm Beach County Commissioner Dave Kerner and Boynton Beach City Commissioner Justin Katz.

Currently, no Republicans have filed to run in HD 81. The filing deadline for state legislative candidates is June 22.

Abruzzo hadn’t yet attracted any Democratic challengers at the time he decided against running for re-election. Rather, Abruzzo says he aims to spend more time with his young son following drawn-out divorce proceedings with his estranged wife. However, he hasn’t ruled out returning to politics in the future.

His endorsement of Polsky follows

In addition to her work as a lawyer, Polsky also holds volunteer leadership positions with the Anti-Defamation League and the Mitzvah Club, which raises money for charity. If elected, Polsky says she will advocate for commonsense solutions to gun violence, efforts to combat climate change, and quality public education.

In his announcement endorsing Polsky, Abruzzo highlighted her activism and ties to the Palm Beach County area she’ll be representing.

“Tina is a loyal Democrat, a passionate advocate for women’s rights, education and senior advocacy, all of which [have] been the cornerstone issues in our office and record of success. Tina will be an incredibly strong champion for West Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach and the Glades communities in our state capital.”

Accepting the endorsement, Polsky stated: “Rep Abruzzo has been an outstanding public servant and a relentless fighter for the issues most important to everyone in our county, first in the Florida Senate and now in the Florida House. I look forward to building on his impressive legacy of delivering results for the district through both responsible legislative action in Tallahassee and exceptional constituent services here at home. Joe is beloved because he has always been there for our community and I am honored to have earned his support.”

Written By

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to

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