GOP heavyweights solidify Shawn Harrison support with “avalanche” of endorsements

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Five more heavyweight state lawmakers are solidifying the GOP support around former Florida Rep. Shawn Harrison as he works to regain his District 63 seat.

Today, House Reps. Jose Felix Diaz, Bill Hager, Larry Ahern, Jimmie Smith, and Clay Ingram announced their backing of Harrison, showing an early unification around the Tampa Republican in the 2014 race.

They joined five other Republican legislators who announced their support of Harrison last week — State House Majority Whip Elizabeth Porter, along with Reps. Jim Boyd, Matt Gaetz, Ray Pilon and W. Gregory ”Greg” Steube.

Harrison is looking to take the Hillsborough County state seat back from Democrat Mark Danish, which he lost in 2012 by nearly 600 votes.

“I had the pleasure of serving with Shawn in the Florida House,” said Diaz, who represents Miami-Dade County. “Shawn is someone that believes in our party’s message of economic mobility and individual freedom.  His experiences as a lawmaker and businessman will help our State in this very important time.

“His experience as a small business owner is exactly what we need to fix the financial issues facing our State,” said Delray Beach Republican Hager. “From Citizens to Medicaid, we need legislators who can read a balance sheet, think outside the box, and are committed to solving tough problems.”

“I was proud to support his legislation to help the surviving families of active duty military and first responders who fell in the line of duty, the Fallen Heroes Family Tax Relief Act,” said Ahern, who represents the city of Seminole. “As a fellow small business owner, Shawn understands the key issues that affect everyday  Floridians.”

In the 2010 legislative session, Harrison sponsored Amendment 9, offering tax relief for spouses of military veterans killed in action. After returning to Tallahassee, Harrison said he plans to continue his work for “education, eldercare and veterans.”

“Shawn’s leadership on Amendment 9, securing tax benefits for the families of fallen veterans and emergency personnel was outstanding,” said Smith, who represents Inverness District 34. “Shawn has the passion for our Veterans and their families.  I trust Shawn’s leadership and am proud to support him.”

“We may come from different parts of Florida,” added Ingram, who represents Pensacola’s District 1, “but Shawn and I both want a state where our kids can prosper, families stay strong, and our schools are second to none.”

“Once again I am honored to have the endorsements of my former colleagues in the Florida House,” Harrison said in response to this recent avalanche of endorsements. “These are friends whom I greatly respect.  From business owners to Military Veterans, these representatives know my work ethic and ability to achieve results.  Party identification should be secondary to the record of bipartisan achievement for any elected official.” 

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Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.