Outgoing Democratic Rep. Joe Geller is endorsing Bay Harbor Islands Council Member Jordan W. Leonard in the race for Geller’s House District 100 seat.
Nearly three dozen current and former elected officials at the local and state level have now endorsed Leonard. Geller, who has won four terms representing HD 100, is facing term limits heading into 2022. The list of officials endorsing Leonard includes several of Geller’s House colleagues, such as Reps. James Bush III, Kevin Chambliss, Mike Grieco and Felicia Robinson.
So far, Leonard is one of four Democrats running in the left-leaning district. Monday morning, Geller released a statement endorsing Leonard over Democratic candidates Todd Delmay, Clay Miller and Evan Shields.
“I first met Jordan when he was in college and running for a position on the State Young Democrats Board in the 1990s. Since then, I have watched Jordan devote his life to making our community a better place,” Geller said in a written statement announcing the endorsement.
“For 25 years, I have seen Jordan grow professionally and personally, demonstrating the experience, compassion and knowledge that we need more than ever in the State Capitol.”
Leonard has served on the Bay Harbor Islands Town Council since 2008, including three rotating stints as Vice Mayor and Mayor. Several Bay Harbor Islands colleagues are backing Leonard’s House bid, including Mayor Joshua Fuller, Vice Mayor Elizabeth Ticoche and Council Members Stephanie Bruder, Molly Diallo and Robert Yaffe. Former Bay Harbor Islands Mayor Linda Zilber is endorsing Leonard as well.
Leonard formerly served as president of the Miami-Dade County League of Cities and has served on the board of directors of the Florida League of Cities.
“From City Hall to County Hall to Tallahassee, Jordan has spoken up for our rights and to protect home rule, earning the Florida League of Cities Home Rule Hero award for the past five consecutive years. He has stood up to defeat bad bills in previous sessions and has been effective in getting millions in appropriations for our cities,” Geller added.
“He is a proven leader in South Florida with a multitude of qualifications that will serve us all well in the Florida House.”
The Geller endorsement will certainly help Leonard’s bid, but he’ll still face a contested Primary for the Democratic nomination. Leonard is leading the field in overall fundraising since joining the race in February, recently eclipsing the $100,000 mark.
“Rep. Geller is not only my Representative in the Florida House, but he is also a mentor and a friend,” Leonard added in a statement of his own.
“I am truly humbled to receive his endorsement to succeed him in the Florida House. We have been blessed to have had Rep. Geller diligently working for our interests in Tallahassee. I look forward to continuing that tradition of providing excellent representation in our State Capitol and at home. I promise to work not just during Session, but every day, to serve all of the people of District 100 and South Florida.”
HD 100 is split between Broward and Miami-Dade counties and is a Democratic stronghold. After Geller first secured the seat in 2014, he faced no opposition — Democratic or otherwise — for the next three cycles, including last November.
Republican candidate Wena Sutjapojnukul also filed for the seat last week, but would be the underdog in the Nov. 2022 General Election contest.
Among the other officials backing Leonard are former Rep. Javier Fernandez, Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg and Miami-Dade County Commissioners Oliver Gilbert III, Sally Heyman and Jean Monestime. The rest of those endorsements are listed below.
— Mayor Enid Weisman, Commissioner Rachel Saltzman Friedland and former Vice Mayor Howard Weinberg of Aventura
— Biscayne Park Mayor Virginia O’Halpin
— El Portal Mayor Omarr Nickerson
— Miami Gardens Mayor Rodney Harris
— Miami Shores Council Member and former Mayor Crystal Wagar
— Mayor Anthony DeFillipo, Commissioners Barbara Kramer and Fortuna Smukler, and former Commissioner Phyllis Smith of North Miami Beach
— Mayor Philippe Bien-Aime, Councilman Alix Desulme and former Councilwoman Carol Keys of North Miami
— Pembroke Pines Mayor Frank Ortis
— Pinecrest Mayor Joseph Corradino
— South Miami Mayor Sally Philips
— Sunny Isles Beach Vice Mayor Larisa Svechin
— Miami-Dade County Public Defender Carlos Martinez