Joe Abruzzo endorses Kelly Skidmore in HD 81
Kelly Skidmore survives the primary; it's now on to November. Image via Facebook

Kelly Skidmore
Abruzzo formerly represented the district.

Former Rep. Joe Abruzzo, who represented House District 81 for one term, is backing Kelly Skidmore as she pursues that seat in 2020.

Skidmore announced her candidacy Thursday morning. The seat opened after Rep. Tina Polsky transitioned to a Senate run earlier this week.

Polsky succeeded Abruzzo after he stepped away from the HD 81 seat in 2018. Now, Abruzzo tells Florida Politics he will throw his support behind Skidmore, who also formerly served in the House.

“I recently had a detailed conversation about our district and Kelly’s commitment to the Glades, surrounding senior communities, veterans and those currently serving in uniform, Florida families and the hard working men and woman of the district,” Abruzzo said.

“It is extremely clear to me that returning Rep. Skidmore to the Florida House is particularly important during this unprecedented time.”

Abruzzo was first elected to the House in 2008, serving four years. Her tenure overlapped with Skidmore’s. Skidmore represented parts of Palm Beach County from 2006 to 2010.

“I had the privilege of serving with Rep. Skidmore in the Florida House,” Abruzzo said. “Kelly’s deep understanding of issues and experience was a tremendous asset to the Democratic Caucus then and will be a tremendous asset to the Democratic Caucus and our community now.”

In 2012, Abruzzo won the race for Senate District 25 and served one term. After redistricting, Abruzzo then represented HD 81 from 2016 to 2018.

Earlier this week, the former Senator said he would decline a run for Senate District 29 after Sen. Kevin Rader withdrew his reelection bid. Abruzzo said he would hold off endorsing anyone in the Democratic primary in SD 29, which currently features Polsky and former Rep. Irv Slosberg.

Abruzzo did not hesitate to make his preference known in the HD 81 primary, however. Skidmore will be competing against Delray Beach lawyer Michael D. Weinstein for the Democratic nomination.

Other candidates still have time to file in the race, as qualifying week begins June 8.

HD 81 covers parts of Palm Beach County near Lake Okeechobee including Pahokee and Belle Glade. Silmo Moura of Boca Raton, who works as a real estate agent with United Realty Group, is also running in HD 81 as a Republican.

Ryan Nicol

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 [email protected].


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