U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio has endorsed Rep. Chuck Clemons in his bid for a third term representing House District 21.
Rubio’s endorsement Monday will help Clemons fend off the challenge from Dr. Kayser Enneking, a Gainesville Democrat backed by U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
“Chuck Clemons is a trusted leader in the Florida House with a track record of getting results,” Rubio said. “As Chair of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, Chuck secured $200 million in funds to assist with springs restoration. District 21 needs Chuck back in Tallahassee, and I am proud to endorse him for re-election.”
Clemons and Rubio have worked closely together on several projects within House District 21, according to a press release from Clemons’ campaign. Those efforts include hurricane relief, veteran’s affairs and funding for various infrastructure improvement projects.
“Working alongside Senator Rubio for the past few years to ensure that Florida has a bright future has been an honor, and I am humbled to receive his endorsement,” Clemons said. “Senator Rubio is a great example of leadership and integrity in Congress and I am excited to continue working with him.”
Ten weeks remain until Election Day, but Clemons lags behind Enneking in fundraising. As of the latest fundraising report, Clemons has raised $306,000 in his campaign account and political committee, Florida Shines, to Enneking’s $436,000 raised between her campaign and political committee, Florida Knows Excellence.
Earlier this month, the political arm of the Florida Medical Association endorsed Clemons over Enneking, who is an anesthesiology professor.
“As Vice Chair of the House Insurance Committee, he has a unique understanding of the difficult insurance issues facing the physician community in our state,” FMA PAC President, Dr. Doug Murphy said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing our work with him on these and other important health care issues during his next term.”
HD 21 represents much of Alachua County and includes the entirety of Dixie and Gilchrist counties. The most recent book closing report shows Democrats with a 41%-36% edge in voter registration. Third- and no-party voters make up the balance of the electorate.
Clemons and the seat’s former occupant, now-Sen. Keith Perry, have kept HD 21 in Republican control since it was redrawn for the 2012 election.
Perry won the seat by double digits in 2012, but the margin has winnowed considerably over the past three cycles — in 2018, Clemons defeated Democratic nominee Jason Haeseler by less than 3%. The same cycle saw the seat go for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum at the top of the ticket.