Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco endorsed Republican business owner Kevin Steele’s run in a local House district.
“Kevin Steele is devoted to his faith and family,” Nocco said. “He also understands that Florida is such an attractive place for businesses and families because it’s safe. He will go to Tallahassee and ensure that public safety is a priority so Florida will continue to be a state we are all proud of. Kevin has my full support.”
Steele announced he would run to succeed Ardian Zika shortly after Zika announced he would not seek a third term.
The support from a popular Sheriff should be important for Steele as he moves his campaign to an open House seat. It’s also notable, in that Nocco has considered a run for the Legislature himself. But this makes clear he won’t jump into the HD 55 race.
Steele had previously filed in House District 53, but his home address lies in HD 55.
He embraced the Sheriff’s support.
“Sheriff Nocco is a great Sheriff,” Steele said. “He has dedicated his career to keeping us safe. In an ever changing, more dangerous world, he and his deputies go the extra mile in keeping the bad guys off our streets and behind bars. I’m humbled by his support and will always back the blue as a legislator in Tallahassee.”
The support from Nocco comes a day after Senate President Wilton Simpson, also a Pasco County political leader, endorsed Steele.
At the moment, Steele faces Gabriel Papadopoulos in the Republican Primary for HD 55.
The newly redrawn district appears to be a safe Republican seat. About 60.34% of voters favored Republican Donald Trump in the 2020 Presidential Election and just 38.33% voted for Democrat Joe Biden.
Steele grew up in Tampa Bay, graduated from the University of South Florida and later founded DataLink, a healthcare technology company.