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Tampa Bay area legislative hopefuls endorsed by Barack Obama

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President Barack Obama has thrown his support behind a few Tampa Bay area Democrats.

The Florida Democratic Party announced Friday the president endorsed 13 Democrats running for state House and Senate. Among those on the list: Bob Buesing in Senate District 18, Rena Frazier in House District 59, Lisa Montelione in House District 63, and Ben Diamond in House District 68.

“President Obama’s extraordinary service to our nation has inspired in me a strong desire to serve our community and our state,” said Diamond in a statement. “I’m grateful for the president’s exemplary leadership and humbled to receive his support in my campaign to represent Pinellas County in the Florida House.”

Montelione also said she was honored to receive the president’s endorsement.

“As a super volunteer for his 2008 presidential campaign, listening to then-Sen. Obama speak inspired me to run for public office and carry the commitment to lift up our citizens in challenging times,” said Montelione in a statement. “Having our president’s trust to carry on the fight for our shared Democratic values in Tallahassee is a responsibility I am proud to take on.”

The president endorsed Rod Smith in Senate District 8, Linda Stewart in Senate District 13, Jose Javier Rodriguez in Senate District 37, and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell in Senate District 39.

In the House, the president endorsed Beth Tuura in House District 47, Ivette Gonzalez Petkovich in House District 103, Nick Duran in House District 112, Daisy Baez in House District 114, and Robert Asencio in House District 118.

“Our candidates are running strong campaigns built on shared Democratic values in order to continue the incredible progress we have made under President Obama’s leadership,” said House Democratic Leader-designate Janet Cruz in a statement. “With the president’s support, we’re going to win these races and make sure Florida stays blue this November.”

Obama has been lending his support to candidates up and down the ballot, releasing advertisements this week for Rep. Patrick Murphy’s U.S. Senate bid and former Gov. Charlie Crist in Florida’s 13th Congressional District.

According to Gallup, Obama has averaged 54 percent job approval so far this month. Gallup found his approval ratings have averaged above 50 percent from April 20 through July 19. Pollsters noted Obama’s job approval ratings have grown more positive as “voters prepare to elect his successor.”

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