State Attorney Brian Haas is endorsing state Sen. Kelli Stargel in her run for Florida’s 15th Congressional District. But his endorsement didn’t just tout Stargel’s devotion to conservatism — he took the chance to make a jab at former Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren, who was recently suspended from his post by Gov. Ron DeSantis in a controversial decision.
Haas serves the 10th Judicial Circuit, which includes Polk, Highlands, and Hardee counties. In his endorsement statement, he echoed DeSantis’ rhetoric on Warren, criticizing him as a progressive prosecutor with “radical ideologies” for refusing to enforce bans on abortion and gender-affirming surgery.
“While State Attorneys across the country and right next door in Hillsborough County are rejecting the rule of law in favor of radical ideology, now more than ever we need a strong conservative like Kelli Stargel to fight for the safety and security of our families and our communities,” Haas said in a statement.
He contrasts Warren with Stargel, calling her a tough-on-crime “conservative warrior.”
“I am proud to endorse Kelli Stargel for Congress because she is a proven conservative warrior who will stand up for the rule of law, back the blue and continue to fight for freedom,” he added.
Haas’ endorsement adds to Stargel’s support from law enforcement — she has also been endorsed by Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.
Stargel’s opponents in the GOP Primary include state Rep. Jackie Toledo of Tampa, former Secretary of State Laurel Lee, and U.S. Navy veterans Kevin McGovern and Demetries Grimes. At the start of July, Lee led the pack in campaign resources with $487,000 cash on hand, while Stargel brought up the rear with $254,000 in her campaign coffers.
The Democratic Primary is crowded as well, featuring five candidates: Gavin Brown, Alan Cohn, Eddie Geller, Cesar Ramirez and William VanHorn.
The district slightly favors Republicans, as former President Donald Trump won the district 50.9% to 47.7% over President Joe Biden in the 2020 election.