Eleven state legislators from across Florida are backing Senate District 24 candidate Eunic Ortiz.
Ortiz, a Democrat, raked in endorsements from state Sens. Lori Berman, Shevrin Jones, Tina Polsky, Bobby Powell, Linda Stewart and Victor Torres.
“The Florida Senate needs more leaders who will work towards finding solutions to meet the diverse needs of communities across our great state,” said Torres, an Orange County Democrat, in a statement.
“I am proudly supporting Eunic Ortiz for Florida State Senate, District 24 because she will fight for Floridians and not special interests. We need more women, more Latinas, more union organizers and more LGBTQ leaders in the Florida Senate to ensure a more representative democracy. Eunic is a trusted and proven leader whom I look forward to working with in the Senate to build a better Florida for all.”
She also received support from three state Representatives, including Reps. Carlos Guillermo Smith, Andrew Learned and Angie Nixon.
“Eunic is not just a proven leader, she is a friend and a mentor and I am happy to endorse her for the Florida State Senate,” said Nixon, a Jacksonville Democrat, in a statement. “I have watched Eunic blossom into a force in Florida politics and am so proud of the movement she is building. Our democracy needs protectors and people willing to call out the government overreach coming from our State leadership. Eunic has answered that call and will take her advocacy for affordable housing, fully funded public education, and our workers to Tallahassee where it is needed the most.”
Former state Reps. Joe Saunders and Adam Hattersley also endorsed Ortiz.
“Eunic Ortiz is the right leader to progress this community and our state forward in a new and equitable way,” Saunders said in a statement. “As an educator and advocate for affordable housing, fully funded public education, and affordable access to quality health care, Eunic will take this commitment to Tallahassee to disrupt the status quo and bring bold leadership to a number of systemic issues and obstacles preventing Floridians from getting ahead. I am happy to support Eunic Ortiz for Florida State Senate and look forward to her continued advocacy for our working families.”
The district covers a large portion of Pinellas County including parts of Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Largo, Pinellas Park, Gulfport and most of the county’s coastline.
Ortiz has been backed by Democratic lawmakers including U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, state Rep. Michele Rayner, who is currently running a congressional campaign, as well as Pinellas County Commissioners Rene Flowers and Pat Gerard.
“We are at a critical moment in Pinellas County’s history. Right now, we can decide what our neighborhoods, streets, and waterways could look like for the next several generations. And one way we will decide that future is based on who we elect to office,” Ortiz said in a statement. “I am honored to have the support of these elected leaders from across our state. I look forward to working with them as a member of the Florida Senate.”
The endorsements come as Ortiz remains the only Democrat in the SD 24 race. Democrats are hoping to flip the open seat. Ortiz currently faces front-runner Republican state Rep. Nick DiCeglie. Both hope to take the seat currently held by Republican state Sen. Jeff Brandes, who is leaving office due to term limits.
Ortiz works for one of the nation’s largest unions, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), advocating for workers’ rights, affordable health care, LGBTQ equality, public education, environmental protection and criminal justice reform.
The latter aligns with Brandes, who has for years sided with Democrats on many criminal justice issues.
As currently drawn, Republicans outnumber Democrats in the district with 128,785 voters to 114,240 Democrats. And that advantage could grow as the Republican-led Legislature redraws districts as part of the decennial process to align with new census data.