Senate Democrats appear ready to welcome Carlos Guillermo Smith to their ranks. Sens. Lori Berman, Shevrin Jones, Geraldine Thompson and Vic Torres are all endorsing the Orlando Democrat.
“Our campaign is all about people power,” Smith said. “I am proud to have the endorsements of these four champions in the Senate. These are the political leaders who we trust to fight for our Democratic values in Tallahassee. I am honored to have not just their endorsement but their ideas and activism in my campaign.”
Smith earlier this month launched his campaign to succeed Sen. Linda Stewart, an Orlando Democrat terming out next year, in Senate District 17. That’s after he lost a bid for a fourth term in the House last year.
The group of new endorsements makes up a third of sitting Democrats in the Senate, though they hope Smith can help build the caucus ranks in 2024.
Jones, Florida’s first openly gay Senator, hopes Smith can help double the number of LGBTQ members in the chamber. Smith would be Florida’s first gay Latino Senator.
“As Florida’s first LGBTQ Black legislator, I am proud to endorse fellow trailblazer, Carlos Guillermo Smith for Florida Senate,” he said.
“Carlos is a true progressive leader and public servant who understands how housing affordability, healthcare access and gun violence is impacting Florida families. While real issues go unaddressed, GOP extremists have escalated their attacks on LGBTQ+ people and other marginalized groups. Our community needs strong representation and a seat at the table now more than ever before.”
Thompson chairs the Orange County legislative delegation and served with Smith in the House.
“As someone who has spent over 40 years fighting for underserved communities in Central Florida, I know how critical it is to elect leaders who will stand up for the most vulnerable among us,” the Windermere Democrat said.
“Carlos Guillermo Smith is that leader, and I am proud to endorse him. He’s been a tireless civil rights champion for LGBTQ people, reproductive freedom and racial justice. Carlos understands that we must work together to ensure that all individuals, regardless of race, gender identity or socioeconomic status, have access to the opportunities they need to succeed.”
Torres also represents a portion of Orange County.
“I have known Carlos for more than a decade and worked with him to support labor union worker’s rights, more opportunities for our Hispanic and Latino residents and to protect the health and safety of all Floridians,” the Orlando Democrat said.
Berman hails from Delray Beach and also wants to see Smith in the upper chamber.
“Carlos is a strong advocate for protecting Florida’s environment, he’s a respected civil rights leader and a steadfast champion for reproductive justice,” she said. “I know he will be a great Senator and I look forward to working with him to solve the real issues impacting Floridians.”
Smith has built up a list of Democratic lawmakers in Central Florida backing his bid. That includes U.S. Rep. Maxwell Frost and state Reps. Anna Eskamani, Johanna López, Rita Harris and LaVon Bracy Davis.