The Collective PAC endorses in Tamarac, Pinellas County, Sarasota County

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Mike Gelin, Keesha Benson, Dawnyelle Singleton backed by The Collective.

The national Black empowerment organization The Collective PAC announced three local race endorsements Thursday, backing candidates in the Tamarac mayoral race and School Board contests in Pinellas and Sarasota counties.

The Collective PAC, which played a major role in the 2018 gubernatorial nomination of Andrew Gillum in Florida, describes itself as the nation’s largest political action committee dedicated to increasing Black political engagement, representation and power across all levels of government.

The PAC backs Democrats, though it also endorses candidates in officially nonpartisan races such as School Board elections.

On Thursday, the group announced it is backing Tamarac Vice Mayor Mike Gelin in his campaign for Mayor, Keesha Benson for the Pinellas School Board District 3 seat, and Dawnyelle Singleton for the Sarasota County School Board District 1 seat.

The PAC has previously announced several other endorsements in Florida in this cycle.

Gelin is an insurance brokerage owner and community advocate. He is running against Michelle J. Gomez for the open Tamarac Mayor’s office.

Benson has been an educator for more than 10 years, currently teaching for Rutgers University’s master of social work program. She faces Dawn Peters and Carl Zimmermann for the open Pinellas School Board District 3 seat.

Singleton works for Forty Carrots, an educational nonprofit, and is a former administrator of the Visible Man Academy. She is challenging incumbent Sarasota School Board member Bridget Ziegler.

The Collective PAC now has endorsed 158 candidates nationally in this cycle. They include Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings in Florida’s U.S. Senate contest, former Democratic State Attorney Aramis Ayala for Attorney General, Democrat Tiffany Hughes in House District 39, and Democratic state Rep. Michele Rayner for re-election in House District 62.

In local races, the PAC previously endorsed Helen Larry who is running for St. Lucie County Commission, and Paula Deboles-Johnson for Leon County Commission.

The Collective PAC has provided about $200,000 in support for its various endorsed candidates thus far in the 2022 election cycle, according to OpenSecrets.org.

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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