Sam Greco adds Chuck Clemons to pile of HD 19 backers

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'Sam’s not just a candidate, he’s a Navy JAG Officer ready to make a real difference on day one.'

Republican Sam Greco’s flurry of endorsements in the race for House District 19 continued with a nod from the current House Speaker Pro Tempore.

“Sam Greco is the conservative we need representing HD-19 in Tallahassee. Sam’s not just a candidate, he’s a Navy JAG Officer ready to make a real difference on day one,” said Rep. Chuck Clemons, a term-limited Newberry Republican.

“I have no doubt that he will be a tireless and effective advocate for the residents of northeast Florida. I encourage Republicans to support Sam Greco on Aug. 20.”

Clemons is the fourth GOP lawmaker endorsement Greco’s campaign has announced in as many days. He opened the week with a nod from House Speaker Paul Renner — the term-limited incumbent in HD 19 — and followed it up with statements of support from Reps. Bobby Payne and Cyndi Stevenson.

His strong support from current GOP leadership comes three months out from what appears set to be an expensive Republican nominating contest.

Greco in the first six weeks of his campaign crossed six figures in fundraising, while competitor James St. George has augmented his own $100,000-plus from outside donors with $250,000 of his own money.

Despite whiffing on lawmaker endorsements, St. George’s endorsements aren’t insignificant — in a recent one-two, he announced that the Florida Police Benevolent Association and Florida Professional Firefighters, two influential first-responder unions, were in his corner.

And while Greco and St. George are staking claims as major candidates in HD 19, a one-on-one race isn’t likely as two other Republicans, Darryl Boyer and Matthew Nellans, are also competing for the open seat. As St. George knows from experience — he ran in the 10-person CD 3 field four years ago — the eventual nominee may skate into office with a third of the vote or less.

Thomas Morley is also running for the seat. But the district’s partisan lean virtually ensures Renner’s successor will be a Republican, making the Democrat’s candidacy little more than a mechanism to shut non-GOP voters out of casting a ballot in the August election.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


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