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Matt Caldwell is the cash winner so far this year in the Ag Commissioner race.


Matt Caldwell announces Seminole County ‘sweep’

Lehigh Acres Republican Rep. Matt Caldwell rolled out another cache of endorsements for his Agriculture Commissioner campaign Wednesday.

The bulk endorsement included nine county and municipal officials, including four Seminole County constitutional officers in what the campaign called a “sweep” of the Central Florida county.

That’s a fair assessment considering the list included Sheriff Dennis Lemma, Property Appraiser David Johnson, Tax Collector Joel Greenberg, Clerk of Circuit Court Grant Maloy. The only name missing from the set is Supervisor of Elections Mike Ertel.

The remainder of Wednesday’s backers hailed from Okaloosa. Those pols were County Commissioner Graham Fountain, Undersheriff Steven Harker, Crestview Mayor David Earl Cadle, former Crestview Mayor Jerry Milligan and Laurel Hill City Councilmember Scott Monnypenny.

“I’m grateful that these leaders are supporting our campaign to serve as Florida’s next Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services,” Caldwell said. “Since announcing our candidacy one year ago, we have traveled over 65,000 miles across Florida to talk to voters and share our conservative message, and we will continue to outwork our opponents and unite Floridians across the state. We are the only campaign running a truly statewide race and we will continue that same work ethic and statewide focus when elected.”

The Wednesday endorsements were billed as the “eleventh wave” for the Caldwell campaign. Past waves include House Republicans in the PanhandleNortheast Florida, Central Florida, Southwest Florida and South Florida delegations. He has also snagged nods from the Florida Police Benevolent Association, the Associated Builders and Contractors of Florida, U.S. Congressmen Matt Gaetz and Francis Rooney, and one-time primary rival Paul Paulson.

Caldwell is currently in his fourth term representing Lee County based House District 79 where he has in the past chaired subcommittees and committees related to agriculture and natural resources. Though a real estate appraiser by trade, his family has a long history in Florida agriculture.

He faces Sebring Sen. Denise Grimsley, retired U.S. Army Col. Mike McCalister, and former Winter Haven Rep. Baxter Troutman in the Republican Primary. Also running for the Cabinet post are Democrats Jeffrey Duane Porter and R. David Walker.

The primary election is Aug. 28.

Written By

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.

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