Republican Cory Mills has landed an endorsement from a third member of Florida’s congressional delegation as he seeks to flip Florida’s 7th Congressional District.
U.S. Rep. Brian Mast on Friday joined U.S. Reps. Neal Dunn and Greg Steube in backing Mills, a U.S. Army veteran who now works as a defense, diplomatic, and law enforcement consultant and contractor.
“U.S. Army veteran Cory Mills is a true leader who fought honorably overseas to serve, defend and protect our country. Cory understands that what makes our state great is a commitment to individual liberty, economic opportunity, and personal safety. I am proud to endorse him, and I look forward to working with him to deliver results for Floridians,” Mast said in a news release.
Mills has also earned endorsements from Oklahoma U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin and Andrew Knaggs, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Combatting Terrorism.
Mills is a decorated U.S. Army combat veteran who, after his discharge, got involved in defense and diplomatic consulting work in Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2006, as a contractor for the U.S. State Department, he was injured in two separate explosions in Iraq.
A Winter Haven native, Mills has an associate’s degree from Florida State College at Jacksonville, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from American Military University, a private, for-profit school based in West Virginia, according to his LinkedIn account.
Mills was the third Republican to file either federal or state paperwork to run in the CD 7 election. He faces Mark Busch and Jeremy Liggett in the GOP primary.
Also, state Rep. Anthony Sabatini recently announced he would seek the CD 7 seat after initially filing to challenge U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster in Florida’s 11th Congressional District.
CD 7 has been a target for Republicans ever since Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy flipped the seat in 2016. CD 7 was redrawn ahead of the 2016 cycle, making it more favorable to Democrats.
Murphy easily staved off GOP challengers in the next two cycles, defeating former state Rep. Mike Miller by 15 points in 2018 and physician Leo Valentin by 12 points last year.
However, the task may be more difficult in 2022 depending on how the reapportionment process shakes out. Congressional redistricting may also place the current crop of candidates within other districts as lines shift to add in a 28th district for the state.
Florida Politics reporter Scott Powers contributed to this post.