Former Polk County sheriff backs Neil Combee for CD 15


Auburndale Republican Neil Combee has added another Polk County backer in his campaign to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross in Florida’s 15th Congressional District.

Former Polk County Sheriff Lawrence Crow on Monday joined a dozen other current and former Polk County officials in endorsing Combee, a former state representative and Polk County commissioner.

“I’ve known and worked with the Combee family for decades having served with Neil’s father in the Lakeland Police force. I can say without a doubt, Neil Combee has the honesty and integrity to represent the values of the hard working people of this Congressional district. As a former Sheriff I trust Neil Combee to uphold the Constitution, respect our sworn law enforcement officers and keep the United States a place where the rule of law matters,” said Crow, who served as Polk Sheriff from 1987 until his retirement in 2005.

Crow’s endorsement is the 21st for the Combee campaign since he announced his CD 15 run in mid-April. In addition to the dozen Polk County nods, Combee has picked up a handful of endorsements from Hillsborough County and Lake County elected officials.

“I’m proud to have this endorsement from Fmr. Sheriff Crow. It is humbling to have the support of several law enforcement leaders in the district, and I will work everyday in Washington to make sure they have the support they need to successfully protect and defend us,” Combee said.

Combee faces Dover state Rep. Ross SpanoSean HarperDanny KushmerCurt Rogers and Ed Shoemaker in the Republican Primary. Also running for the seat are Democrats Kristen CarlsonAndrew Learned and Ray Pena as well as three write-in candidates.

A poll from late last month showed Spano leading Combee in the crowded primary 29-23 with one third undecided. None of the other Republican candidates cracked 5 percent support in that poll.

About half of CD 15’s Republican voters live in Hillsborough County and another two-fifths live in Polk while a small slice lives in Lake County. The district is rated “likely Republican” by Sabato’s Crystal Ball, the prediction newsletter from University of Virginia political science professor Larry Sabato.

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.


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