Before Trump’s RNC speech, Marco Rubio feels the love in Tampa

Marco Rubio concluded his statewide tour of Florida on Friday by appearing at Port Tampa Bay in Tampa.

He actually began his Tampa experience on Thursday night, where he made a pop-up appearance at 81 Bay Brewing Company, a cavernous craft brewery off of Gandy Boulevard in South Tampa that the Hillsborough County Republican Party had taken over for an RNC convention watch party.

A host of candidates running for office in Hillsborough County were invited to speak, though the acoustics were horrible, and some speakers – like CD 14 aspirant Christine Quinn – challenged the audience to quiet down.

Shortly after 7:30 p.m., however, everything changed: that’s when Rubio entered the room. The Florida Senator only walked a few feet inside the building before he was swarmed by well wishers, all of whom wanted to take selfies with him.

While Rubio was posing for photos, I asked him if he approved of what Ted Cruz had done the night before in Cleveland. The Texas Senator engendered boos in the hall by not endorsing Trump in his speech, whereas Rubio had sent in a one-minute video giving his support to the GOP nominee.

“I wouldn’t have done that -” he said, before being cut off by another supporter. “We have two choices, Hillary Clinton and Donald Tump, and I’m never going to support anything she does.”

He added that “the best thing I can do for the Republican party is to keep the Senate in Republican hands. That’s why I’m staying in Florida, I’m trying to win.”

Although mocked by Democrats and some journalists for his flip-flopping decision to run for reelection after declaring throughout 2015 that he would not do so, Rubio seems to have not suffered that much back on the campaign trail. He has a huge lead over his only major GOP Senate opponent, Carlos Beruff, and has led in every poll against his two potential Democratic opponents this fall, Florida Congressmen Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson.

After posing for photos for another ten minutes or so, he took to the stage, where he gave a three-and-half-minute speech.

“The time for fighting against each other is over!” he shouted as the crowd, in part buzzed perhaps by the beer, slowly began to quiet. “It’s time to come together and win in November, because if we don’t win in November, then someone who is unqualified and disqualified will become commander in chief.”

Observing the other candidates in the audience, like Dana Young running for the state Senate District 18 seat, and Jackie Toledo in House District 60, Rubio said the crowd had to make sure to get out and support the entire GOP ticket on the ballot this fall.

“I will work side by side with everyone else on the ballot so in November we can win the White House, we can keep the Senate, we can keep the House and Senate in Tallahassee, we can keep our conservatives in local government, and we can turn this country around!”

There was more posing for selfies. He then engaged the press, taking a question in English and one in Spanish. Before he bolted, I asked him what he thought about Trump’s controversial comments in the New York Times regarding the NATO alliance. Trump said that if Russia attacked a NATO nation, he would decide whether to come to their aid only after reviewing if those nations have “fulfilled their obligations to us.”

“Well, I disagree with him on that,” he replied. “I obviously want to see our NATO allies contribute more, but that’s been a longstanding problem. But we can’t put the NATO alliance in doubt.I disagree with him on that. I hope he’ll change his mind. If he pursues that, as a senator I’ll oppose it. I don’t think that’s the right approach on that issue. But I think Hillary’s a disaster.I think she’s worse. I think Hillary Clinton has been a part of the most disastrous foreign policy presidency we’ve seen in a long time under Barack Obama.”

And with that he was off.

Rubio’s appearance in Tampa, a rare one in the entire five-and-a-half years since he was elected, was noted by both the Murphy and Beruff campaigns.

Marco Rubio barely acknowledged Tampa during his six years in the Senate and when it came time to fight for Tampa families on skyrocketing flood insurance rates, he abandoned them almost entirely,” said Murphy Campaign Spokeswoman Galia Slayen. “Tampa doesn’t need Marco Rubio showing up now to pander for votes. They need a Senator who shows up when it matters and cares enough to fight for them every day.”

“Considering how rarely he’s been in the Tampa Bay region over the last six years, he probably had to allow extra time in case he got lost going to the airport,” said Beruff campaign spokesman Chris Hartline. “An election-year epiphany won’t distract voters from the fact that Marco Rubio has ignored most of the state and ignored his duties as senator for the last six years.”
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Carlos Beruff looking for that Donald Trump/Rick Scott coattail

In a modestly housed and attended town hall meeting in Orlando, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Carlos Beruff made it clear he’s still striving for that image identifying him as the outside warrior, Donald Trump/Rick Scott-style candidate.

Beruff, whose chances in the Aug. 30 Republican U.S. Senate primary plummeted when incumbent U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio filed late for re-election in late June, showed he has lost little of his “I’m-not-Washington” swagger, even as the appearance showed his campaign looking like it might have been in the opening days of a seven-month run, not in the closing weeks.

His town hall meeting was held in the backroom of a small, noisy downtown Orlando pizza parlor. It was attended by only 14 or 15 citizens, not including three or four local Republican officials and candidates who came to support or watch him. Almost all of the regular voters there were over 70. And many seethed the kind of anger common among Trump supporters, in this case, aimed almost equally at Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Rubio, whom many blamed for having abandoned them and his conservative promises of 2010.

The 58-year-old homebuilder from Bradenton made it clear he felt their pain, as well as his own, after he saw Rubio jump in with millions of dollars and legions of party regulars.

“Me, I have to work to get people to come hear me,” Beruff said. “I’m Carlos Nobody, right?”

He shouldn’t be; not after hiring some of the smartest campaign team members in Florida, spending six months on the campaign trail, and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars — much of it his own money — on statewide television commercials and internet advertising linking to his campaign site.

But there he was, in a tiny venue five weeks out from the election, his voice sometimes competing with jovial diners just around the corner, and a waiter shouting, “Caesar salad? Who had the Caesar salad?”

Beruff’s message was as straightforward and blunt as ever, with the new Rubio twist. Washington is broken. The Democrats are gambling away America’s future. Gov. Rick Scott (whom he repeatedly cited as his friend and inspiration) and Trump have shown the way out. And he’s a part of that way out, promising, among other things, putting a two-term limit on himself.

“Over the years what has happened is a lot of people have disappointed me. They come into my office. They want my support. They want my money. They get there, and now they worry about the next election and forget about what they said,” he said.

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Mitch Perry Report for 7.21.16 — Ted Cruz’s courage

One of the biggest surprises of how the Republican primary season played out to this reporter was how successful Ted Cruz was. When you looked at the panoply of candidates who had serious potential to go all the way in 2016, he was never at the front of my list (neither, of course, was Donald Trump).

But Cruz emerged over the much more hyped Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, et al. He’s a true believer, what Paul Ryan likes to call a “movement conservative.”

Trump is definitely not, which is one reason why the Republican Party as a whole has never, and will never, completely embrace the NYC business mogul.

Cruz is very conservative — too conservative to lead the country, some might suspect. Trump is not as conservative, which is why he could very well defeat Hillary Clinton this fall.

So while I suppose I sort of guess I understand the anger expressed by Republicans toward Cruz last night at the RNC for failing to endorse Trump, I sort of don’t. There was not one report from anyone beforehand that Cruz was going to endorse. Not one. Trump certainly knew that when he allowed Cruz to speak at his convention.

I actually think it was courageous of the Texas Senator to stick to his principles, and have the audacity to do so in front of thousands in the Q and millions worldwide.

Rubio has been all over the place in terms of whether he’d support Trump or not. He ended going halfway, sending an incredibly brief video saying Republicans should back Trump (Interesting, by the way, that Rubio is conducting a statewide campaign tour this week — a tour that could have been planned for next week, but gives him the cover that he’s too busy campaigning to actually travel to Cleveland).

True, Bush and John Kasich, two other major Republicans who don’t support Trump, have made sure to far, far war from the convention hall. But this is Ted Cruz, folks. There’s a reason he’s the most loathed member of the senate.

They say he (and Rubio) are already running for 2020. Some say he’s thrown that all away after last night. I’m not so sure.

It was Florida night on the stage Wednesday, with Rubio, Rick Scott and Pam Bondi getting airtime. Actually, Bondi’s speech wasn’t carried by any of the cable networks, but was captured in its entirety on C-SPAN. Including the part where she seemed to enjoy the refrain of the week regarding Hillary: “Lock her up.”

Meanwhile, if you want to watch the final night of the RNC with a group of Republicans, the Hillsborough County REC hosts a gathering at a South Tampa craft brewery.

In other news …

Hillary Clinton speaks at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa in the second of three Florida appearances before heading to Philadelphia to receive the presidential nomination for the Democratic Party.

The Hillsborough County Commission actually hung the Gay Pride flag from their building in tribute to the fallen victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando last month, but don’t expect them to ever do that again.

We finally heard back from the head of the Tampa Firefighters Union regarding their endorsement of Luis Veira. Steve Suarez says Veira received their endorsement because he was the only one who asked, and he had no interest in the other candidates running.

Mark Kelly & Gabby Giffords‘ super PAC on gun safety is backing Patrick Murphy for senate. Neither Kelly or Murphy had much to say positive about Rubio’s record on guns.

Eric Lynn & Ben Diamond announce more endorsements in their HD 68 race.

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Hillsborough County Republicans to gather in South Tampa to watch final night of RNC

While it’s been well noted that there are many Republicans not in Cleveland this week for the RNC (hello, David Jolly), there are many others in the Tampa Bay area who might have wanted to attend, but aren’t delegates or don’t want to spend the money that it requires to travel to the Buckeye State.

A number of these Republicans will gather Thursday night in Tampa at a “Unifying for America: Trump for President” convention watching party at 81 Bay Brewing Company, beginning at 6 p.m. That’s at 4465 W. Gandy Blvd.

Among those in elected officials scheduled to attend to watch Donald Trump give his acceptance speech include Marco Rubio, Florida House Majority Leader Dana Young and County Commissioner Sandy Murman.

There will be plenty of Hillsborough GOP candidates there as well: CD 14’s Christine Quinn, House District 60 candidates Rebecca Smith and Jackie Toledo, County Commission candidates Jim Norman and Tim Schock, Property Appraiser candidate Todd Jones, Eric Seidel, who is running for Clerk of the Courts, and school board candidates Stanley Gray and William Person.

The Master of Ceremonies will be Retired Lieutenant Colonel Steve Emerson with the U.S. Marines. WFLA 970’s Tedd Webb will also be in the house.

Admission is free, but those who wish to attend are being asked to register here.

 

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Mark Kelly joins Patrick Murphy in attacking Marco Rubio voting record on gun issues

U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy has received the endorsement of Americans for Responsible Solutions, the super PAC led by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her husband, retired NASA astronaut Mark Kelly.

“We really strongly believe that Congressman Murphy is the best person in this race to fight for the responsible steps that we need to help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people,” Kelly said in a conference call organized by the Murphy campaign on Wednesday.”He’s the guy we need to help prevent gun tragedies, and he is the candidate that will help make Florida comunities safer from gun violence.”

Americans for Responsible Solutions was created just months after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2013, and two years after Giffords was nearly killed after being shot at a town hall meeting in Tucson, Arizona.

Murphy said he was humbled by the endorsement.

“We know that the majority of Americans and the majority of Floridians favor reasonable measures to keep guns out of the wrong hands and prevent gun violence,” he said.”But we’re sorely lacking leadership in Congress to get commonsense proposals like closing background check loopholes and closing the terror gap across the finish line. In the U.S. Senate, I will always stand with Gabby and Mark in the fight to make Florida families and children safer from gun violence.”

Although Murphy is still very much locked in a competitive primary election against fellow Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson, he wasn’t mentioned in the call. But GOP Senator Marco Rubio definitely was.

Referring to his visit to Orlando on Tuesday as part of a statewide campaign tour he’s on this week, Murphy blasted Rubio for failing to meet with the families of the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting last month, where 49 people were killed and dozens more injured.

“Senator Rubio held a closed door meeting,” Murphy said. “He refused to talk to the many Floridians who made their voices heard outside this private event. He went so far as to call these constituents ‘petty protestors.’ That to me is insulting, to admonish citizens who are expressing his record of consistently opposing gun prevention measures, and instead of listening to these cries of Floridians who have been deeply impacted by this gun violence, Senator Rubio played the blame game.”

According to an account in the Orlando Sentinel, Rubio was confronted by approximately 30 protestors at an appearance near the Pulse nightclub shooting scene.  He said he was trying to help coordinate aid for Pulse shooting victims and their families from various federal agencies, including the FBI’s victim fund.

Kelly criticized Rubio’s voting record on guns on the conference call.

“Marco Rubio has voted repeatedly to protect the loopholes that let felons and domestic abusers and even terror suspects get guns without a background check,” he said. “He did so after the tragedy at the Sandy Hook elementary school and he did it again after the tragedy Orlando.”

Last month, the U.S. Senate voted on and rejected four different gun control measures, two sponsored by Republicans, two sponsored by Democrats. Rubio and Senator Bill Nelson voted along party lines on those votes, and the Florida Republican called the Democrat proposals “politically-motivated and driven by a larger ideological agenda to disarm Americans.”

“After lying about his own resume and getting caught delaying needed aid to Floridians for his own publicity, now he’s spreading even more lies,” responded Michael Ahrens, a spokesman for the Rubio campaign. “Marco has a strong record of fighting to keep Florida’s families safe.”

Left unclear at the conclusion of the conference call was whether Americans for Responsible Solutions will be supporting Murphy financially or by putting up a campaign advertisement backing candidacy. Kelly said that as a 501(c)(4) and a super PAC, there are certain rules about independent expenditures that must be adhered to.

“I can’t really tell you because I don’t know, and I wouldn’t be involved because we have legally have set up a firewall between the folks who have been coordinating with Congressman Murphy’s office, and an I.E. (independent expenditure) if we chose to do that,” Kelly said.

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President Obama tapes television ad for Patrick Murphy’s U.S. Senate campaign

U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy will begin airing his first Senate campaign television ad, a 30-second spot featuring President Barack Obama.

The ad will begin airing statewide on Wednesday, and it features the president speaking directly to the camera.

Obama says Murphy is a strong progressive who stands up to the gun lobby and supports social security and protecting women’s right to an abortion.

Obama also acknowledges Murphy is targeted by opponents and tells viewers not to believe the negative attacks.

He ends the ad by saying, “I count on Patrick Murphy. You can too.”

“I am humbled and honored that President Obama is proudly supporting our campaign to fight for Florida families,” said Murphy. “The President knows that Florida needs a leader in the Senate who shows up for work and fights for our shared priorities, like protecting Social Security and Medicare, fighting for a woman’s right to choose, and standing up to the gun lobby to reduce gun violence.”

Murphy is facing U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson in the Democratic primary Aug. 30. The winner will either take on Republican Sen. Marco Rubio or developer Carlos Beruff.

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Donald Trump triumphs as GOP nominee, completing stunning climb

United for a night, Republicans nominated Donald Trump Tuesday as their presidential standard-bearer, capping the billionaire businessman’s stunning takeover of the GOP and propelling him into a November faceoff with Democrat Hillary Clinton.

“I will work hard and never let you down!” Trump quickly wrote on Twitter following the roll call vote.

Trump’s campaign hoped the formal nomination would both end the discord surging through the Republican Party and overshadow the convention’s chaotic kickoff, including a plagiarism charge involving Melania Trump‘s address on opening night.

There were flurries of dissent on the convention floor as states that Trump did not win recorded their votes, but he far outdistanced his primary rivals. His vice presidential pick, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, was also formally nominated.

Trump was put over the top by his home state of New York. Four of his children joined the state’s delegation on the convention floor for the historic moment and appeared overwhelmed with emotion.

“Congratulations, Dad, we love you,” declared Donald Trump Jr.

Some delegates emphasized a need for a televised display of unity after the deeply divisive GOP primary. “United we stand, divided we fall,” said Johnny McMahan, a Trump delegate from Arkansas.

But Colorado’s Kendal Unruh, a leader of the anti-Trump forces, called the convention a “sham” and warned party leaders that their efforts to silence opposition would keep some Republicans on the sidelines in the fall campaign against Clinton.

This week’s four-day convention is Trump’s highest-profile opportunity to convince voters that he’s better suited for the presidency than Clinton, who will be nominated at next week’s Democratic gathering. A parade of Trump’s campaign rivals and Republican leaders lukewarm about his nomination were taking the stage Tuesday night to vouch for the real estate mogul, including House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Still, the plagiarism controversy and other unforced errors by the campaign cast a shadow over the convention and raised fresh questions about Trump’s oversight of his campaign, which gives voters a window into how a candidate might handle the pressures of the presidency.

The plagiarism accusations follow Monday night’s speech by Trump’s wife. Two passages from her address — each 30 words or longer — matched a 2008 Democratic convention address by Michelle Obama nearly word-for-word.

Trump’s campaign failed to quell the controversy on Day 2 of the convention by insisting there was no evidence of plagiarism, while offering no explanation for how the strikingly similar passages wound up in Mrs. Trump’s address. The matter consumed news coverage from Cleveland until the evening vote, obscuring Mrs. Trump’s broader effort to show her husband’s softer side.

Clinton pounced on the tumult, saying the Republican gathering had so far been “surreal,” comparing it to the classic fantasy film “Wizard of Oz.”

“When you pull back the curtain, it was just Donald Trump with nothing to offer to the American people,” Clinton said during a speech in Las Vegas.

Top Trump adviser Paul Manafort said the matter had been “totally blown out of proportion.”

“They’re not even sentences. They’re literally phrases,” Manafort told The Associated Press.

Conventions are massive organizational undertakings, with thousands of attendees to manage and dozens of speakers to oversee. But the weeklong gathering pales in comparison to the scope of a president’s responsibilities as head of the U.S. government.

It was unclear whether there would be much if any effect on how voters view Trump. The businessman has survived numerous politically perilous moments that might have doomed other candidates.

Manafort, a longtime Republican operative, has been a central figure in Trump’s Cleveland operations. He led efforts to successfully tamp down a rebellion on the convention floor Monday, though the campaign still had to contend with angry outbursts from anti-Trump delegates.

The campaign chairman also upended Republicans’ unity message by slamming Ohio Gov. John Kasich in his home state. He called Kasich “petulant” and “embarrassing” for not endorsing Trump or attending the convention, drawing quick condemnation from other GOP leaders worried about angering the popular governor of one of the most important election states.

Trump’s campaign hoped the convention would also highlight a kinder, gentler side of the brash candidate. Mrs. Trump was the first in a series of family members and friends who were taking the stage to vouch for the man they know.

Mrs. Trump was widely praised for her success in doing just that, despite the plagiarism charges. She spoke of her husband’s “simple goodness” and his loyalty and love of family — while noting the “drama” that comes with Trump in politics.

Tiffany Trump, the candidate’s 22-year-old daughter from his marriage to Marla Maples, and Donald Jr., his eldest son and an executive vice president at The Trump Organization, were to speak about their father Tuesday night.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

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Progress Florida rolls out ‘Wrong Way Rubio’ digital ad campaign

Progress Florida is tying Marco Rubio to Donald Trump in a new digital ad campaign.

The progressive organization has teamed up with For Our Future to launch a digital campaign that ties Rubio to some of Trump’s more shocking statements.

“Supporting the Republican nominee for president means supporting Donald Trump, period,” said Mark Ferrulo, executive director of Progress Florida. “That means you want in the Oval Office a man who will push building a wall with Mexico, banning Muslims and an economic plan the non-partisan Tax Policy Center said would increase the national debt by nearly 80 percent.”

The ad campaign features some of Trump’s more outrageous quotes, and a quote from Rubio saying he would support Trump if “he’s the Republican nominee.”

The group rolled out the campaign on the second day of the Republican National Convention. Rubio is expected to address the convention later this week via video. Earlier this month, Rubio announced he would not attend the convention, choosing to stay in Florida to campaign for re-election.

Progress Florida also unveiled a new website — called Wrong Way Rubio — that it says is “dedicated to shining a spotlight on Sen. Rubio’s extremist positions, numerous ethical lapses, and how at every turn he opposes an economy that works for all of us, not just the wealthy.”

PROGRESSFL_RUBIO1
Courtesy of Progress Florida
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Courtesy of Progress Florida
Courtesy of Progress Florida
Courtesy of Progress Florida
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Senate Majority PAC airs ad highlighting President Obama’s endorsement of Patrick Murphy

After several weeks of GOP flavored super PACS bashing Patrick Murphy have dominated local cable stations in Florida, a super PAC who supports the Jupiter Democrat in his race for Senate has a new ad on the air.

The ad comes courtesy of the Senate Majority PAC, which on Tuesday released a new ad today released that highlights President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden’s endorsement of Murphy, a two-term Congressman from Florida’s Treasure Coast who is competing for the Senate nomination against Congressman Alan Grayson. The ad notes that Murphy has a fought to strengthen Social Security and Medicare, protect a woman’s right to choose, and against Tea Party obstructionism in Washington.

Critics note that in fact Murphy said on several occasions after being elected to Congress in 2012 that “we’re going to have to look at some structural changes to some programs like Social Security and Medicare.” He has refrained from such comments as a Democratic candidate for Senate.

“Marco Rubio and his allies are not telling the truth about Patrick Murphy and we aren’t going to let their attacks go unanswered,” said Shripal Shah, spokesman for Senate Majority PAC.  “As President Obama and Vice President Biden noted in their endorsement, Patrick Murphy will stand up for Florida’s middle-class; he has fought to protect Social Security and Medicare and a woman’s right to choose, and will stand up against Tea Party obstructionism in Washington. He’s clearly the best choice for Florida.”

Obama and Biden’s endorsement of Murphy earlier this year demonstrated on how much the Democratic Party establishment backs Murphy, the 33-year-old Representative who is centrist in his political leanings and more temperate in tone than the combative Grayson.

Nevertheless, though there hasn’t been any recent polling done, the two  Democrats are considered to be evenly matched up some six weeks before state Democrats will choose their standard bearer for the November election.

Meanwhile, the Marco Rubio campaign is weighing in. The GOP incumbent is the likely candidate who will face either Grayson or Murphy this November.

“It’s no surprise that Harry Reid’s Super PAC would ride to the rescue for their preferred candidate after he was caught lying about his resume and trying to delay needed aid to Floridians for his own publicity, said Rubio campaign spokesman Michael Ahrens.

You can watch the ad here:

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Endorsement watch: National Women’s Political Caucus of Florida, National Federation of Independent Business and others issue endorsements

There are just a few weeks until the election, and organizations across the state are rolling out endorsements for state and federal candidates.

Several organizations — including the National Women’s Political Caucus, Fraternal Order of Police, and the National Federation of Independent Business — issued endorsements.

The National Federation of Independent Business has thrown its support behind Marco Rubio.

The national organization announced it had endorsed Rubio in his re-election bid. In a statement, Bill Herrle, the executive director of NFIB/Florida, said Rubio has “proven that he understands what it takes to defend free enterprise and allow small business owners to thrive.”

“Small business owners are glad to see Senator Rubio running for re-election,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan. “In the Senate, he has worked to reduce crushing taxes and protect small business from red tape and regulations. We need him back in the Senate next year continuing to promote pro-growth economic policies.”

Rubio faces Carlos Beruff in the Aug. 30 Republican primary.

The National Federation of Independent Business announced it was backing Rep. Ron DeSantis in his re-election bid in Florida’s 6th Congressional District.

“Congressman DeSantis has been a strong voice for small business and deserves to be re-elected,” said NFIB National Political Director Sharon Sussin. “He stood with small business owners on every critical vote the NFIB has scored in this Congress. We need him back in the U.S. House next year continuing to promote legislation that reduces the tax and regulatory burdens on small businesses in Florida.”

Sen. Tom Cotton has thrown his support behind Francis Rooney.

The Arkansas Republican announced he was backing Rooney in Florida’s 19th Congressional District.

“I know firsthand the importance of having strong leadership in Washington to protect America from threats against our freedom. Francis Rooney will never relent in protecting our great nation, and he has the same commitment I do to destroying our greatest national security threat — ISIS,” said Cotton. “I’ve never endorsed a candidate in a primary campaign before, but our world is changing, and we need leadership in Congress that is committed to defeating radical Islamic terrorism.”

The endorsement comes one week after Ambassador John Bolton threw his support behind Rooney, the former ambassador to the Holy See.

“Francis shares my view that the world is safer when America takes a firm stand on the international stage,” said Bolton in a statement. “I know he will work to ensure our enemies fear us and our allies know they can trust us, which is why I endorse his candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives.”

Rooney faces Chauncey Goss and Dan Bongino in the Aug. 30 Republican primary.

The Fraternal Order of Police District 5 has thrown its support behind Kathleen Passidomo.

The group announced it endorsed Passidomo in Senate District 28. The district is made up of FOP lodges in Broward, Collier and Hendry counties. The Fraternal Order of Police represents more than 20,000 active and retired law enforcement officers across Florida.

Passidomo faces Matt Hudson in the Aug. 30 Republican primary.

The Dade County Police Benevolent Association has thrown its support behind Frank Artiles.

The organization announced it was endorsing Artiles in his bid for Senate District 40.

“The Dade County Police Benevolent Association is proud to inform you of its endorsement of your candidacy,” said John Rivera, president of Dade County PBA, in their endorsement. “We feel that you will be one of the very best, and we wish you a successful campaign.”

Artiles said he appreciated the support of the organization.

“Our police officers are the first line of defense in our communities, and I am proud to announce that Dade County PBA has endorsed my candidacy for state Senate,” he said. “Many of my fellow Marines currently serve as first responders, and I will always support my brothers and sisters in blue.”

Artiles will face the winner of the Aug. 30 Democratic primary in November.

Rep. Ted Yoho has thrown his support behind Chuck Clemons.

First elected to Florida’s 3rd Congressional District in 2012, Yoho announced he was backing Clemons in House District 21.

“There is no question that Chuck Clemons will be an outstanding conservative in the Florida House,” said Yoho. “He’s got deep roots in our community and a long record of public service that have prepared him to effectively represent us in Tallahassee. I plan to vote for him, and I look forward to having such a strong leader for our area in Tallahassee.”

House District 21 includes Alachua, Dixie and Gilchrist counties, which are part of Yoho’s district. Clemons said he was honored to have Yoho’s support.

“I share his commitment to the principles of liberty and limited government, and I look forward to working with him as we both serve the residents of North Central Florida,” said Clemons.

Clemons faces Republicans Wenda Lewis and Tim Rogers in the Aug. 30 Republican primary.

The National Women’s Political Caucus of Florida is throwing support behind Ken Keechl.

The organization announced it was recommending Keechl in his House District 93 bid.

“We are very pleased to offer Ken Keechl our highest recommendation of his race for state representative,” said Christina Disbrow, chairwoman of the National Women’s Political Caucus of Florida. We are proud to see a male candidate so supportive toward increasing the participation of women in the political field. We look forward to working with him toward victory.”

Keechl said he appreciates the organization’s support.

“It is crucial that we fight for equal opportunities for all women,” he said. “As a legislator, my priorities will be to achieve equal pay for equal work, greater access to affordable reproductive health care, and paid family leave. I’m excited to stand with the women’s political caucus in this battle to flip State House District 93.”

Keechl faces Doug Oberman in the Aug. 30 Democratic primary.

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