U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is getting behind Blaise Ingoglia as he seeks to jump from the state House to the state Senate in 2022.
Ingoglia is currently filed to run in Senate District 10 against former Sen. John Legg. That race would determine the successor to Senate President Wilton Simpson, who is facing term limits and is running to be the state’s next Agriculture Commissioner.
The redistricting process could upend that matchup, however, and potentially pit Ingoglia against fellow Rep. Ralph Massullo of Lecanto in a GOP Primary contest. As those boundaries continue being finalized, Rubio is already stepping out to back Ingoglia.
“Blaise Ingoglia is a proven conservative leader who has been a staunch defender of our values and an instrumental part of the Republican Party’s success here in Florida,” Rubio said in a statement endorsing Ingoglia obtained by Florida Politics. “I am proud to support my friend Blaise Ingoglia for state Senate.”
Rubio is a former member of the Florida Legislature. He served in the House for eight years, including as Speaker of the House from 2006 to 2008, before launching a winning bid for the U.S. Senate.
Ingoglia is also completing his own fourth term in the House and is barred from running again because of term limits. That has led him to seek a Senate seat next cycle, and the endorsement from Rubio certainly gives Ingoglia a leg up in the GOP Primary, though the ongoing redistricting process still leaves that field unsettled.
“Since his days in the Florida legislature, Marco has been fighting for freedom and the promise of the American Dream — two important objectives in my campaign,” Ingoglia added. “I am grateful for his example of leadership and his endorsement of my strong conservative values and principles to take on the issues that matter most to Floridians and keep our state free.”
From a campaign cash standpoint, Ingoglia has a huge advantage over Massullo. Ingoglia has more than $1.86 million on hand.
Earlier this month, the International Association of Firefighters Florida Chapter also endorsed Ingoglia.
Massullo, completing his third term, started November with $228,149 on hand between his campaign and political committee, Better Lives for Floridians PAC.
Unlike Ingoglia, Massullo can seek another term in the House and he has not ruled that out. In a September interview, Massullo said he “wouldn’t have any qualms” about running against Ingoglia, but that going for re-election is an option. He clarified that he would not run against a current House colleague in a Senate race unless he had support from Senate leadership beforehand.
In addition to Ingoglia, Republican former Sen. John Legg has had a campaign account open for SD 10 since 2012, though he has no collections since 2016. He lives in New Port Richey, which is outside both the current and proposed SD 10.
Additionally, Legg has been clear that he will not run for Senate in 2022. As it stands, the account is merely a placeholder for a future run, if the opportunity presents itself.