Florida’s largest police union made its move in one of the state’s most significant political standoffs.
The Florida Police Benevolent Association formally endorsed Rep. Elizabeth Fetterhoff, a DeLand Republican, over Rep. Webster Barnaby, a Deltona Republican.
“She demonstrates a strong commitment to the men and women of law enforcement, corrections, and probation,” a letter from Florida PBA President John Kazanjian said. “We know she has our back.”
The fact the PBA weighed in on the race holds particular significance as the HD 29 contest remains the only Florida legislative race pitting two House incumbents against one another. A new state House map initially put 19 different House members in districts with colleagues, but lawmakers prevented all other potential conflicts by moving their campaigns to nearby jurisdictions without incumbents.
Fetterhoff, who is seeking her third term in the House, said the support of law enforcement means a great deal to her as a lawmaker.
“I’m very happy the PBA has decided to back my campaign,” she said. “I have always been very supportive of law enforcement and first responders as a whole, and I think they realize that and are supportive of a candidate who is supportive of them.”
That the group would take sides in a contest with two incumbent lawmakers on the ballot also holds special significance, Fetterhoff said.
“They have worked with me and they know who I am,” she said. “They know I will fight for their issues.”
Fetterhoff also recently announced the support of other police and first responders in the area, including Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood, Florida Professional Firefighters and two local unions, DeLand Professional Firefighters Local 4347 and Deltona Professional Firefighters Local 2913.
Of note, the support also comes after Barnaby publicly told at least one GOP group in the region that he already had the support of the PBA. The Floridian reported that Barnaby told the Volusia Republican Executive Committee at a meeting this month that he had “just been endorsed by the Police Benevolent Association.”