Florida Republican Assembly announces slate of endorsements
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Republican Candidates Concept
The group backs Scotty Moore, Demetries Grimes, Jennifer Rayburn, Doug Bankson and Carolina Amesty.

The right-wing Florida Republican Assembly announced a slate of five endorsements along the Interstate 4 corridor Monday, including three for Congress and two for the Florida House.

The organization, along with its Orange County Chapter, announced support for Scotty Moore in Florida’s 9th Congressional District, Demetries Grimes in Florida’s 15th Congressional District, Jennifer Raybon in Florida’s 18th Congressional District, Doug Bankson in House District 39, and Carolina Amesty in House District 45.

In each case, the endorsed candidate is in a crowded Republican Primary Election battle. However, the congressional redistricting plan continues to be unsettled, so the fields may not yet be finalized.

In most cases, the organization endorsed against well-established Republican candidates, including an incumbent Congressman, a former Congressman, a couple of state lawmakers and a county party Chairman.

“These candidates are working around the clock to connect with voters and share their conservative message throughout Central Florida,” said Lou Marin, executive Vice President of the Florida Republican Assembly.

The Florida Republican Assembly describes itself as as Judeo-Christian political organization promoting conservative principles and candidates within the Republican Party. The organization’s website is full of “no RINO” emblems.

Moore’s endorsement was announced last week by his campaign. Moore, of Orlando, faces Jose Castillo of Kissimmee and Sergio Ortiz of Kissimmee for the Republican nomination to run in CD 9, which now covers Osceola County and much of southern Orange County.

The winner can expect to face Democratic U.S. Rep. Darren Soto in a district with a strong Democratic lean, based on results of the last couple of General Elections.

For the Republican nomination in CD 15, which covers northwestern Polk County, northeastern Hillsborough County and southeastern Pasco County, Grimes, a retired U.S. Navy commander from Winter Haven, pulled in the endorsement. The group selected Grimes over U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross of Plant City, state Sen. Kelli Stargel of Lakeland, state Rep. Jackie Toledo of Tampa, Jay Collins and Kevin McGovern, among others.

There is no incumbent running in CD 15. Eddie Geller is the Democratic candidate with the most campaign money so far. The district leans slightly Republican.

For the Republican nomination in CD 18, which stretches from eastern Polk County into the Lake Okeechobee region, Raybon was endorsed over incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Franklin of Lakeland, Leonard Louis Serratore, who filled with an address in West Palm Beach, and George Shepherd of Lake Wales, among others.

CD 18 leans strongly Republican. There are no Democrats filed to run yet.

HD 39 covers northwestern Orange and southwestern Seminole County. The organization endorsed Bankson, an Apopka City Commissioner, over Orange County Republican Chair Charles Hart and conservative activist Randy Ross.

There is no incumbent for the district under the new map. The district appears evenly split by party. The leading Democratic candidate appears to be Tiffany Hughes of Longwood.

HD 45 covers southwestern Orange and northwestern Osceola County — the Walt Disney World region. Amesty faces Republicans Vennia Francois, Janet Frevola, Bruno Portigliatti, and Mike Zhao.

There is no incumbent. The district leans slightly toward Democratic. Democrats appear rallying around Allie Braswell of Winter Garden.

Previously, the organization endorsed Drake Wuertz of Altamonte Springs in House District 38, covering south-central Seminole; and David Dwyer of Orlando in House District 42, covering north-central Orange. They also have Republican Primary Election opponents. Wuertz is taking on incumbent Republican state Rep. David Smith of Winter Springs.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].


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