Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis has weighed into the rough-and-tumble Republican Primary in House District 45, endorsing Carolina Amesty.
Patronis’ nod is the first Cabinet-level endorsement in a race that has Amesty facing four other Republicans battling to represent The Walt Disney World area, in southwestern Orange County and northeastern Osceola County.
The endorsement might also further dim hopes for the other Republicans — Vennia Francois, Janet Frevola, Bruno Portigliatti and Mike Zhao — that they might secure the endorsement that everyone in the Republican Primary Election covets, that of Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Earlier this week, her campaign announced an endorsement from former Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran.
The latest endorsement also opens discussion of attacks between the campaigns.
As the contest has entered the Primary Election stretch run, campaign literature and TV ads have poured into the district in the past couple of weeks, and rhetoric has become hostile. There have been attacks on Amesty in mailers and public appearances challenging whether she has always supported former President Donald Trump, and whether she has falsely suggested an endorsement from DeSantis, which has not been granted to anyone in the race yet.
As an example, one opponent’s campaign cited a recent Amesty campaign email blast that included a subject line declaring “Carolina Gets Major Endorsements.” The email featured a picture of DeSantis. Yet there was no text about any endorsement in the message.
Amesty denied that she has claimed or implied an endorsement from DeSantis. She said all the campaigns have been trying to suggest closeness to DeSantis and hers is no different.
In announcing the Patronis endorsement, Amesty took a moment to defend against those attacks.
“Some of my opponents have been lobbing false attacks on my support for President Trump and Gov. DeSantis,” she said in the news release issued by her campaign. “I am the only candidate to receive endorsements from known conservative leaders like Patronis, Rep. Joe Harding, Rep. Stan McClain, and Sen. Danny Burgess. I am honored that they have lent their support, and it is an indication of just how ridiculous my opponents’ attacks are.”
Patronis cited Amesty’s business experience and passionate commitment to American free enterprise as reasons for his endorsement, according to the news release.
HD 45 covers southwestern Orange County including Walt Disney World, and northwestern Osceola County. Results for recent General Elections suggest it may have a slight Democratic lean.
The seat is open.
Allie Braswell, a diversity consultant, former Marine and former president of the Central Florida Urban League from Winter Garden, has wrapped up the Democratic nomination and awaits the Republican Primary winner.