Dan Horton-Diaz announces wave of Monroe County endorsements for HD 120 bid

Daniel Horton-Diaz
‘We know Dan in the Keys, and he is the best candidate to win this race in November.’

Democratic candidate Dan Horton-Diaz announced a wave of endorsements Saturday from Monroe County leaders, including several current and former elected officials who are backing his bid to unseat Republican Rep. Jim Mooney to take House District 120.

In total, 10 people from the Florida Keys have thrown their support behind Horton-Diaz, joining the Communications Workers of America, which endorsed him March 31.

“I am committed to fighting for the people of the Florida Keys in Tallahassee,” Horton-Diaz said in a statement. “We must protect our clean water, increase affordable housing, and restore local control of government. I am prepared to lead that effort and I am grateful to have the support of many of our elected officials and community leaders. With their energy and support, we will flip this seat blue in November.”

Among those who endorsed Horton-Diaz is Shirley Freeman, who has lived in Key West more than 40 years — five of which she served as Monroe County Commissioner and three as Mayor. She said Horton-Diaz has “a proven track record” in serving the Keys community.

“We know Dan in the Keys, and he is the best candidate to win this race in November,” she said.

Key West Vice Mayor Sam Kaufman and Key West Commissioner Jimmy Weekley also endorsed Horton-Diaz, as did Bahamas Village Community Redevelopment Advisory Committee member Jethon Williams.

“Dan has consistently proven that he’s dedicated to serving our community through his tireless devotion to local issues and concerns,” Williams said.

Clint Barras, who ran for HD 120 in 2020, said Horton-Diaz has his “full confidence and support,” adding: “Dan would serve the people of District 120 tirelessly.”

Keys activist and LGBTQ community leader Mark Ebenhoch, a former U.S. Marine who has served as an adviser in numerous Hollywood film projects, called Horton-Diaz “the most engaged candidate in this district.”

“He is dedicated and will faithfully serve our community in Tallahassee,” he said.

Other endorsers included former Monroe Commission candidate Tommy Ryan, Key West entrepreneur Amy Culver and community leaders Rev. Randy Becker and Harvey Server.

A Florida Bar-licensed lawyer, Horton-Diaz previously worked as a district chief of staff to former U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, legislative aide to state Sen. Annette Taddeo and the Florida director of voting rights group All Voting is Local.

He first ran for HD 120 in 2016, winning the Primary handily but losing to Republican incumbent Holly Raschein, who is now a Monroe County Commissioner. Four years later, Horton-Diaz ran for the Senate District 39 seat. He lost in the Primary to former Democratic Rep. Javier Fernández, who went on to lose to Republican Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez.

This year, Horton-Diaz faces fellow Democratic lawyer Adam Gentle in the Primary. Last month, just one day after Horton-Diaz announced his candidacy, Gentle dropped his bid to supplant Republican U.S. Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart in Florida’s 25th Congressional District to instead set his sights on HD 120.

As of Feb. 28, Horton-Diaz and Gentle were neck-and-neck in fundraising.

The victor of their contest will face the winner of a Primary bout between Mooney and Rhonda Rebman Lopez, a local businesswoman and GOP activist who entered the race this week.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


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