Michael Waltz, Florida Chamber endorse Ray Rodrigues
Michael Waltz, Ray Rodrigues

Waltz RayRod
The Estero Republican nabbed both endorsements Wednesday.

Another prominent Congressman weighed in on a heated Southwest Florida Senate race. Rep. Michael Waltz endorsed Estero Republican Ray Rodrigues in a GOP primary in Senate District 27.

The support came the same day Rodrigues shored up support from the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

The support could be crucial for Rodrigues, generally considered the frontrunner to succeed Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto in the open seat but now locked in a primary with Fort Myers Republican Heather Fitzenhagen.

Waltz stressed a significant point of difference between the candidates, their stance on abortion.

“Ray Rodrigues is a conservative warrior who has worked tirelessly to protect the unborn because he understands that every life is precious,” said Waltz, a Palm Coast Republican.

“I am proud to endorse Ray Rodrigues, because I know we can trust Ray to fight for the shared conservative values of hardworking Floridians in Southwest Florida and across the state.”

Fitzenhagen has already come under fire in the primary for her record on abortioon, including voting against a parental consent bill just signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Waltz, a National Guard colonel and frequent Fox News guest, likely holds weight with the conservative and veteran-rich electorate in Southwest Florida.

“Colonel Waltz is an American hero who continues to serve our nation with honor and distinction,” Rodrigues said. “Congressman Waltz knows first-hand the attacks liberals on both sides of the isle are waging on our conservative values at such an important time in our country. I am humbled to stand with him in the fight and to have his support as we work to ensure Floridians have the conservative voice they deserve in Tallahassee.”

As for the Chamber’s support, that likely provides Rodrigues significant backing from business leaders around the state.

“Representative Ray Rodrigues is committed to ensure Florida’s businesses are a top priority in the legislature,” said Marian Johnson, senior vice president of political strategy at the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “The Florida Chamber is proud to endorse Representative Ray Rodrigues for the Florida House.”

Rodrigues, who dubbed his own political committee  Free Markets For Florida, embraced the business group’s support.

“As the voice for Florida’s businesses, we share a common goal of making Florida the best state in the nation for an entrepreneur to grow a business and raise a family,” he said. “I look forward to continuing to work with the Chamber in the future.”

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


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