Conservative activist EJ Otero backs Berny Jacques in HD 66 election bid

Otero also backed Jacques in his failed 2018 run for HD 66.

U.S. Air Force Veteran and former congressional candidate EJ Otero is backing Seminole Republican Berny Jacques in his bid for Florida House District 66.

Otero, a conservative activist who ran against Kathy Castor for Florida’s 14th Congressional District back in 2012, credited his endorsement to Jacques’ support for law enforcement.

“I have known Berny over the years and he is an American of true grit. Berny’s sense of conviction, deep knowledge of the issues, and magnificent bearing make him the best choice to serve as State Representative,” Otero said in a statement. “Berny has deep respect for law enforcement and is committed to pursing policies that ensure the safety of our local community. And as a retired USAF Colonel, the veteran community in our area considers Berny their champion and friend. Simply put: We need Berny Jacques in Tallahassee.”

Jacques, a former prosecutor and former conservative analyst for Bay News 9, is running to replace Nick DiCeglie in the Florida House. DiCeglie is vacating the seat to run for state Senate.

“I will fight to Keep Florida Free,” Jacques said in a statement. “That means giving parents more control and better choices to determine the education outcomes for their children. It also means ensuring a strong and open Florida economy so that our families and communities can thrive.”

Jacques has so far garnered endorsements from Pinellas County Commissioner Kathleen Peters, former Rep. Larry Ahern and Seminole Mayor Leslie Waters.

Jacques previously ran for HD 66 in 2018, losing the GOP Primary to DiCeglie. Otero endorsed Jacques in that election, too.

Jacques now faces MacDill Air Force Base technical lead Alen Tomczak and lobbyist Jennifer Wilson so far in the Republican Primary.

HD 66 has a conservative advantage, with nearly 50,000 registered Republican voters to just over 38,000 Democrats. The district also includes nearly 34,000 independent voters. The candidates are running to represent parts of northwest Pinellas County, including Clearwater Beach south to Indian Shores.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected].


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