Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association, Florida Retail Federation endorse Ron DeSantis for re-election

Gov Press Conference Tampa
‘Gov. DeSantis’ leadership saved countless jobs and businesses across our state and has enabled our industry to thrive once again.’

The Florida Retail Federation and Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association are throwing their support behind Gov. Ron DeSantis’ re-election bid, pointing to his insistence on keeping the state open during the pandemic as a key reason.

The nonprofits announced their endorsements of DeSantis in Tampa alongside hospitality workers and industry leaders. They join numerous other groups, including the Florida Realtors PAC, in backing him.

“Ron DeSantis has been a strong supporter of our industry, keeping hotels and restaurants safely open and operating when other states shut down,” Florida Retail Federation President and CEO Carol Dover said in a statement.

“(His) leadership saved countless jobs and businesses across our state and has enabled our industry to thrive once again. He understands the critical role that hospitality and tourism play in our state’s economic vitality, and we are confident he will continue to do so in his second term as Governor.”

Scott Shalley, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation, expressed similar sentiments.

“Florida retailers are grateful for the leadership of Gov. Ron DeSantis,” he said in a statement. “The Governor has remained committed to keeping Florida open for business and has enabled the retail industry to overcome these challenging times and prosper. We are proud to provide our endorsement of his campaign.”

As it did nationwide, Florida’s employment rate in the leisure and hospitality industry plummeted after COVID-19 began spreading in March 2020, falling from 1.24 million jobs to 707,500 in just one month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As of July this year, the rate is back to pre-pandemic levels — something that cannot yet be said for California and New York.

In the first quarter of 2022, a record 36 million people traveled to Florida, according to a July report from VISIT FLORIDA, which found the number of visitors grew by nearly 40% year-over-year and was 1.3% higher than the pre-pandemic first quarter of 2019.

The reason for all this, DeSantis said in a statement, is because Florida never went dormant under his leadership.

“Our restaurants and hotels have done better than anyone expected just a couple years ago,” DeSantis said in a statement. “By keeping the state open, Florida has experienced record-setting tourism, our labor force growth outpaces the nation, and we have achieved record levels of unemployment and job creation,” he said. “Florida continues to prove that the Freedom Agenda works.”

In addition to supporting retail and hospitality businesses by eschewing lockdowns, DeSantis’ administration has worked with the groups and others to combat illegal trade, including human trafficking, drug smuggling and counterfeit goods.

DeSantis, a Republican, this year faces former Florida Governor and current U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, who last week won the Democratic Primary for Governor and chose a running mate.

Recent polling suggests that while DeSantis holds a lead over Crist among likely voters, the gap is not insurmountable, particularly if independent voters turn out on or before Nov. 8.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • Charlie Crist

    August 29, 2022 at 11:48 am

    Yeah blue hair boomers kicking the bucket left and right in The Villages. Can’t put em in the ground fast enough. Eventually Florida will be a blue state and real progress will be made. Until then, it’s all neo naziism and degeneracy, grifting, and sorrow for anyone with half a brain.. anyone who actually cares about the nation.

  • Plutocrats love DeathSantis

    August 29, 2022 at 1:56 pm

    Two organizations whose members benefit greatly from the anti-worker policies and culture in our state. Of course they would support someone who will be sure to allow them to continue to operate business as usual. Who cares if your workers get Covid, more are right behind them thanks to low pay and no benefits in the business these organizations are associated with.

  • David In Shoreline

    August 29, 2022 at 8:18 pm

    Thanks Governor DeSantis for your leadership. Not only has it served Florida well, but you have inspired Americans from sea to shining sea.

  • Tom

    August 30, 2022 at 6:23 am

    Saved Florida from blue state tyrants, unlike gov cuomo grabbing ovaries and writing book on dead Covid seniors. Pathetic.

  • Old Man Ribber

    August 30, 2022 at 8:14 am

    The retail folks and the tourism and hospitality people back DeSantis, and the teachers go for Crist. Isn’t anyone fair minded enough to see what that means? The people who live off the taxpayers like Crist. The people who actually break their asses day after day to bring wealth into the state and pay the taxes back DeSantis. Isn’t that plain to any fair-minded person? Not to leftists who damn people because of their age, it seems. Leftism loves youth because kids so unreasoning, excitable and unreflective, and it hates old age, when experience tempers enthusiasm and allows people to see its lies all too clearly.

    • James Madison

      August 30, 2022 at 10:34 am

      What it really shows is EDUCATED people picked Crist and uneducated people pick DuhSantis.

      • Old Man Ribber

        August 30, 2022 at 12:34 pm

        What is really shows is productive people pick DeSantis and vapid wasters and posers pick Charlie Two Face.

        • Tom

          August 30, 2022 at 1:03 pm

          Ribber, Don’t assume that all educators will be for chameleon. The Hernandez Matz along with her Union sheltered a child abuser. She will have to withdraw. It won’t be tolerated.

          As for educators at large, don’t assume America’s Gov won’t get 45% to 50% of the vote. They know how toxic the NEA/Weingarten with Matz is. Also, only ingrates would ignore the 2 raises and 2 bonuses.

          Ribber, Madison is a joke. He’s clueless and full of gas. Soros Manchurians are brain dead, Need talking points. Yes, Realtors and Retailers are for Gov, cause he is for them.

      • Hope

        August 30, 2022 at 6:39 pm

        Are you among one of the “educated” who can’t even spell DeSantis?

Comments are closed.


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