Hillsborough Schools chief backs Danny Kushmer for CD 15

Danny Kushmer

Brandon businessman Danny Kushmer announced Friday that his bid for Florida’s 15th Congressional District picked up an endorsement from former Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections and Superintendent of Hillsborough County Schools Earl Lennard.

“I have known Danny Kushmer for many years and I know he will be a strong voice for our community in Congress. I wholeheartedly support him and I’m asking everyone I know to vote for him on August 28th. He will represent us better than anyone else in the race on the issues that matter most,” Lennard said.

The new endorsement is one of many Kushmer has received in a recent surge by his campaign. A couple weeks ago, the Hillsborough Republican announced that he’d locked up nods from Bartow Commissioners James Clements and Trish Pfeiffer as well as anti-abortion group Florida Right to Life.

“I am honored to have the support of Earl Lennard. He is a person I truly admire for all the time he has spent working diligently in our community to make it a better place to live, learn, work and play. I continue to be thankful for everyone who has stepped up to support me in this effort and I look forward to serving the constituents in Congressional District 15 in Washington DC.”

Kushmer is one of five Republicans running for CD 15, which is open this year due to current U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross’ decision to not seek a fifth term.

Also vying for the GOP nomination are former Auburndale state Rep. Neil Combee, Lakeland businessman Sean Harper, Lakeland mental health practitioner Ed Shoemaker and Dover state Rep. Ross Spano.

Spano led the GOP field in fundraising at the end of June, with $108,000 banked thanks to candidate loans and taking on a fair amount of campaign debt. Combee, who recently rolled out his first TV ad, had $86,000 banked through the same date, followed by Kushmer at $54,000, Harper at $43,000 and Shoemaker at $3,000.

Democratic candidate Kristin Carlson led the overall field with just shy of $250,000 raised and $193,000 in the bank, including $75,000 in self-funding.

CD 15 is split between Hillsborough and Polk counties, with about 10 percent of the district’s voters living in Lake County. The district, which voted plus-10 for Donald Trump two years ago, is rated “likely Republican” by Sabato’s Crystal Ball, the prediction newsletter from University of Virginia political science professor Larry Sabato.

The primary election is Aug. 28. The general election is Nov. 6.

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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