15 picks that stand out among the Florida Realtors’ 2016 legislative endorsements

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

On Friday, the Florida Realtors PAC made its endorsement for the 2016 election cycle.

There are more than 400 candidates who have qualified to run for the 160 seats in the Florida House of Representatives and Florida Senate. According to a release from the organization, candidates were evaluated on numerous factors, including their voting record on issues that are relevant to the real estate profession.

Among these issues, says Bill Furst, chair of the Florida Realtors PAC Trustees, is how to make “Florida a fair regulatory and low tax state that helps create and maintain a vibrant state economy and strong real estate market.”

Most of the Realtors’ endorsement are in line with those of other pro-growth organizations, such as the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries.

Here are some of the Realtors’ recommendations which stand out.

— In the ultra-competitive race for SD 1, the Realtors are backing Doug Broxson over Mike Hill, both of whom are currently serving in the Florida House.

— It’s shocking to see the Realtors backing Dean Asher in SD 13 (just kidding, we all know Asher is a top priority for the profession).

— The Realtors are weighing in in one tough Senate primary and staying out of another: They’re staying out of SD 23, but they’re backing Matt Hudson over Kathleen Passidomo in SD 28.

— The Realtors are rallying behind Jeff Clemens in SD 31, where Irv Slosberg is also running.

— The Realtors endorsed Mel Ponder over Wayne Harris and Jonathan Tallman in the competitive Republican primary for HD 4. Neither AIF nor the Chamber endorsed in this race, so winning the Realtors’ backing may be one way for Ponder to separate himself from the field.

— Like AIF, the Realtors are backing Democratic incumbent Loranne Ausley in HD 9.

— There are a slew of open seats up for grabs in northeast Florida. In HDs 11-14, there are a slew of candidates running. Some organizations are taking a wait-and-see approach before endorsing in these races. Not the Realtors PAC. It’s making bets on Cord Byrd in HD 11, Clay Yarborough in HD 12 and Terry Fields in HD 14.

— The Realtors PAC likes former Florida GOP Chairwoman Leslie Dougher over Katherine Van Zant, wife of incumbent Charles Van Zant, in HD 19.

— The Realtors are also playing in HD 21, another wide-open seat. They like Wenda Lewis over Chuck Clemmons and four other candidates in this seat.

— One of the most competitive races is in HD 41 where Sam Killebrew is facing off against Charles Davis in the GOP primary. Killebrew earlier won AIF’s endorsement. He now has the Realtors.

— In one of the few open Democratic primaries, the Realtors have endorsed Alex Barrio over Amy Mercado.

— Rebecca Smith is the Realtors preferred choice in the battleground seat of HD 60.

— Democrats Ben Diamond and Eric Lynn appear to be trading endorsement blows with each other in the race for HD 68. The Realtors are backing Lynn.

— In the four-way Democratic primary for HD 87, the Realtors are backing David Silvers.

— The Realtors are backing Kelly Skidmore over Emily Slosberg in HD 91.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.