Rich Santos touts endorsements in HD 36 Republican Primary

Richard Santos
Fraternal Order of Police, former Orange County Sheriff back Santos.

House District 36 candidate Rich Santos announced endorsements from the Fraternal Order of Police and former Orange County Sheriff Kevin Beary in advance of the Republican Primary Election.

Santos, a master deputy with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, is seeking the House seat opening to represent northern Seminole County now that Republican Rep. Scott Plakon is term-limited.

Santos’ new endorsements come from the Florida State FOP and the FOP District 7 Lodge, representing 10 Central Florida counties, including Seminole, and Beary, who was Orange County Sheriff for 16 years through 2009.

“Rich put murderers, rapists, and child molesters behind bars, and gave crime victims and their families the justice they deserved,” Beary said in a statement issued by Santos’ campaign. “Rich is a combat veteran, a Naval officer, and a cop’s cop. There is not a challenge that he is afraid to take on.”

Santos, of Lake Mary, faces Angel Perry of Sanford and Rachel Plakon of Lake Mary in the HD 36 Republican primary. The latter is married to Scott Plakon.

The new HD 36 covers most of northern Seminole, including Heathrow, Lake Mary, Sanford, and Geneva, and parts of Longwood and Winter Springs. Based on the past few General Elections, it should have a slight Democratic lean.

The Democratic Primary Election features Deborah Poulalion of Longwood and Rod Joseph of Fern Park, which is not in the district.

Early last year, another law enforcement organization, the Florida Police Benevolent Association, endorsed Plakon.

Santos criticized the Florida PBA for making its endorsement so early, back when Plakon was the only declared candidate and questioned whether it was done fairly. He said the FOP endorsement involved a dozen law enforcement officers, including police, deputy sheriffs and corrections officers from across the state.

“What I do know is that in order to compete for the FOP endorsement, Ms. Plakon and I sat in interviews and were grilled by real cops on real issues, and I came out on top,” Santos said.

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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