Gov. Ron DeSantis has endorsed Rep. David Smith for another term in the state House.
In a Wednesday evening tweet, DeSantis said Smith “is a proven fighter for Florida. I commend his service in the USMC and his service in the FL House. I look forward to winning with him in November.”
The endorsement comes as Smith is running in a crowded race for new House District 38. The Winter Springs lawmaker is up against two other Republicans, with four Democrats also competing to make the November ballot.
DeSantis’ support could be a difference-maker in the race. In other contests, the Governor’s endorsement has cleared the field — notably, DeSantis’ endorsement of Jay Collins for Senate District 14, also announced Wednesday, led Shawn Harrison to leave the race.
In addition to landing the Governor’s support, Smith was recently endorsed by House Speaker-designate Paul Renner, who is in charge of the Florida House Republican Campaign Committee — the main fundraising vehicle for Republican state House campaigns.
The committee last month showed up with a $24,000 contribution to Smith’s campaign account, bolstering his already sizable fundraising advantage over his competition.
Heading into June, Smith had raised $304,461 for his campaign and had about $258,000 banked. The second-term lawmaker has an addition $56,183 on hand in his affiliated political committee, Friends of David Smith.
Republican Drake Wuertz had raised $26,444 and had about $10,000 in the bank through the same date, while new entrant Patrick Weingart opened his campaign account on May 31 and staked it with his own money to cover the qualifying fee to make the ballot.
Smith currently represents a slightly Republican-leaning district covering southern Seminole County. However, redistricting moved him into a seat that is expected to be more favorable to Democrats. As of Wednesday evening, three have filed to run there: Mark Caruso of Winter Springs, Dominique Douglas and Sarah Henryof Altamonte Springs, and Ed Measom of Casselberry.
Henry leads the Democratic field in fundraising with $28,687 raised. About three-quarters of that was collected in April, when she entered the race.
Smith was first elected to the House in 2018, defeating his Democratic opponent by about 2.5%. He was re-elected by a four-point margin in 2020.