Democrat Janelle Perez has just picked up her first major endorsement for her bid to unseat Republican U.S. Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar next year. LPAC, a national super PAC dedicated to electing LGBTQ candidates, particularly LGBTQ women, announced their support Wednesday.
“Perez’s campaign is focused on accessible, affordable healthcare, economic opportunity, human rights, and environmental protection,” LPAC offered in a statement, noting that Perez, if elected, would be the first LGBTQ Latina Congress member.
The endorsement follows a successful early round of fundraising for the first-time political candidate who hopes to represent Florida’s 27th Congressional District.
That total rose by another $50,000 over the next nine days, according to a press note from her campaign.
She still has a lot of ground to cover before she catches up to Salazar, who hauled in more than $676,000 in the last quarter.
Perez and Salazar share some commonalities. Both are daughters of Cuban exiles. Both grew up in Miami-Dade County. And until six years ago, when Perez returned to Miami after working as a GOP staffer, both were registered Republicans.
But Perez, a local business owner who has a daughter with her wife, Monica, is an active member of Miami-Dade’s LGBTQ community, serving on two advisory boards. She’s also a cancer survivor, having beaten stage 4 follicular lymphoma.
Those and other issues, Perez told Florida Politics, compelled her to challenge Salazar, who offered support for a House Republican tax proposal that would have slashed Medicaid and was among three Miami-Dade Republicans this year to vote against the Equality Act, a bill meant to improve protections against gender- and sexual orientation-based discrimination.
Perez said she was “extremely excited” to share LPAC’s endorsement due to their shared commitment to positive national change.
“As I think about my daughter’s generation, my wife, and all the members of the LGBTQ community, we need leaders who will fight for a future where everyone is respected and protected fairly, regardless of their background,” she said in a statement. “We need to achieve economic security for our families and as a cancer survivor, I know that access to healthcare must be a fundamental right because no one should face bankruptcy from an illness.”