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The Demings lead Democrats backing Belvin Perry’s Orlando State Attorney bid

Perry rolls out 11 Democratic endorsements for four-way Democratic primary.

Power couple Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings and U.S. Rep. Val Demings headline a list of endorsements announced Thursday from top Democrats in Orange and Osceola counties for Belvin Perry‘s bid for State Attorney in Florida’s 9th Judicial Circuit.

In addition to the Demings couple, Perry, the retired Chief Judge for JC 9 serving Orange and Osceola, picked up endorsements from Sheriff John Mina, former Orange County Chair Linda Chapin, Rep. Bruce Antone, and Dick Batchelor in Orange County, Perry’s campaign announced Thursday.

In Osceola County, Perry’s campaign touted endorsements from County Commission Chair Viviana Janer, County Commissioner Cheryl Grieb, Clerk of Court Armando Ramirez, Sheriff Bob Hansel, and Kissimmee Mayor Jose Alvarez.

Perry is in a battle royal with current Chief Assistant State Attorney Deborah Barra, Assistant State Attorney Ryan Williams, and former law professor Monique Worrell in the August 18 Democratic primary.

The winner of that primary is likely to ultimately claim the seat being vacated by outgoing  State Attorney Aramis Ayala, since only an independent candidate awaits the Democratic nominee in the November general election.

“Orange and Osceola Counties will be well served with Belvin Perry as our next State Attorney. As Chief Judge, he was tough but fair. More importantly, he is trusted by the citizens and law enforcement alike. Belvin Perry has my strong endorsement,” Mina said in a statement.

“As an Osceola resident and County Commissioner, I am proud to endorse Belvin Perry for State Attorney. As the former Chief Judge and a former prosecutor, he has proven he is capable, fair-minded and trustworthy,” Janer said.

Ayala and of former State Attorney Lawson Lamar back Barra. Williams has been endorsed by the Central Florida Fraternal Order of Police more than 60 former prosecutors, and two sitting state attorneys, Florida Judicial Circuit 5 State Attorney Brad King, and Florida Judicial Circuit 18 State Attorney Phil Archer. Worrell has picked up a national endorsement from Bernie Sanders, and a local one from Orlando City Commissioner Bakari Burns, plus Ayala’s husband, voting rights activist David Ayala.

There still are plenty of major local endorsements to be won, starting with Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and including a slew of Democratic federal and state lawmakers, county officers, and county and city  commissioners based in Orange and Osceola.

Perry’s announcement Thursday demonstrates he’ll be running with considerable Democratic establishment clout, along with a sizable fundraising ability. Last month he raised more than $123,000, though much of it was tracked to other lawyers at his law firm, Morgan & Morgan.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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