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Endorsement Watch: Florida Retail Federation, Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida Medical Association, and others issue endorsements

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Don Hahnfeldt received the backing of the Florida Medical Association in his bid for House District 33.

The FMA PAC, the political arm of the Florida Medical Association, made the endorsement.

“The FMA PAC is proud to endorse Commissioner Don Hahnfeldt for the Florida House. As a commissioner in Sumter County representing The Villages, he has a unique understanding of the health care needs of many retired Floridians,” said Dr. Chris Pittman, president of the FMA PAC, in a statement. “The FMA looks forward to working with him in the Florida House to improve the health care for not only the retired population, but all citizens in this state.”

Hahnfeldt is vying to replace Republican Rep. Marlene O’Toole in the Florida House.

“Providing the highest quality medical care to all Floridians, especially our children, veterans and retired population, is a top priority for Florida,” said Hahnfeldt. “I look forward to working with the FMA in Tallahassee to ensure the best possible support and cooperation with our healthcare professionals so that they may provide the best medical care services to their patients, as well as, attract additional world-class medical professionals to Florida and encourage our post-secondary students to enter the rewarding field of medicine.”

Dianne Hart received backing of the Florida Retail Federation PAC in her House District 61 race.

“As a small business owner and retailer for more than 30 years, Dianne Hart knows how important our industry is to the success of our state, and will do her part to support her fellow retailers statewide,” said FRF President & CEO Randy Miller. “We look forward to the positive impact she will have on Sunshine State business owners in the Florida House.”

Hart is vying to replace Democrat Rep. Ed Narain in the Florida House. She’ll face Democrats Sean Shaw and Walter Lee Smith in the Aug. 30 primary.

Democrat Francesca Menes received the backing of the Service Employees International Union in her House District 108 bid.

“Francesca Menes is exceedingly qualified to represent the constituents of State House District 108,” SEIU Florida President Monica Russo said. “I am personally a member of this vibrant, multi-cultural district, as are many of our members. She is a rising star and a proven leader on issues that matter to District 108, such as immigration and the Fight for $15. Francesca has years of experiences fighting for us and all of Florida’s working families.”

Menes is vying to replace Democrat Daphne Campbell in the Florida House. She’ll face Marie SterilHenry PatelNadia PierreMoise Duge’Fayola DelicaTaj Collie- EcholesRoy Hardemon and Robert Malone.

 “Over the past 8 years, I have fought alongside the strongest and bravest workers in our communities. From fighting to protect workers from having their wages stolen, to demanding fair wages for those who take care of our elders, disabled and the sick,” said Menes. “I am truly honored by the support from SEIU Florida and its members. I know that together we will build a more equitable society for all workers and for our families. We need better, and we deserve better.”


Charlie Crist received the backing of the Florida AFL-CIO in his congressional bid.

“Florida’s and America’s working families need someone who will listen to them in Washington. That’s why the Florida AFL-CIO is proud to stand with Charlie Crist,” said Mike Williams, the president of the Florida AFL-CIO. “Charlie knows that raising the minimum wage, ensuring fair working conditions, and protecting and improving access to affordable health care aren’t just good for people, they’re good for the economy, too. Charlie Crist will be a champion for middle-class families in Congress.”

Crist is running in Florida’s 13th Congressional District. Rep. David Jolly announced last week he was dropping his Senate bid, and running for re-election in CD 13.

“I’m humbled by the support of an organization that represents so many of our district’s working families,” said Crist. “From hospitality workers and construction trades to first responders and classroom teachers, I’m grateful to have Pinellas County’s hardest working men and women standing with me. And I’ll stand with them in Congress, to improve middle-class wages, healthcare, and benefits.”

Crist also received support from the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund. The group aims to elect candidates who will implement sound environmental policies.

“Charlie Crist has a long record of action on climate change and conservation in Florida, and he will bring this same dedication to Congress. Throughout his career in public service he has been a leading opponent of drilling off Florida’s coastline because he knows that a healthy environment and strong economy go hand-in-hand,” said LCV Action Fund President Gene Karpinski. “Crist is willing to take on big polluters and has been a vocal advocate for protecting our land and oceans, reducing harmful pollution and expanding our clean energy economy, ensuring we leave our children and grandchildren a clean and healthy planet.”

Crist said he was honored to receive the endorsement, and said if elected he will work to “ensure climate change is finally treated as the economic and national security threat that it is.”

Dennis Baxley has received the backing of two local officials.

Belleview Mayor Christine Dobkowski and Belleview City Commissioner Gary Ernst announced they had endorsed Baxley in his Senate District 12 bid.

“Dennis Baxley respects the values and understands the needs of communities like Belleview,” said Dobkowski. “He is dedicated to growing our economy and defending our liberties. There is no better candidate to serve our community and all of North Central Florida in the Florida Senate than Dennis Baxley.”

Baxley will face Republicans David Gee and Marlene O’Toole in Senate District 12. Write-in candidate Elizabeth Kathryn McNutt has also filed to run for the seat.

“Representative Baxley has been an outstanding leader and community service advocate in our area for the past 40 years,” said Ernst. “I am proud to call him my friend and know that he will make the best Senator for Lake, Marion and Sumter counties.”

Doug Holder has received the backing of the Florida Chamber of Commerce in his Senate District 23 bid.

“As a state representative, Doug Holder consistently championed free-enterprise, and the Florida Chamber of Commerce believes he will bring that same spirit for free enterprise to the Florida Senate,” said Marian Johnson, senior vice president of political strategy at the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “The Florida Chamber is proud to endorse Doug Holder for the Florida Senate.”

Holder faces Republicans Greg SteubeRay PilonNora Patterson, and Rick Levine in the Aug. 30 primary. Democrats Frank Alcock and Frank Cirillo are also running.

“I am thrilled to, once again, be endorsed by the Florida Chamber,” said Holder, a state representative, in a statement. “As a small business owner I understand the impact of excessive taxation and burdensome regulation. I know that I can always count on the Florida Chamber to be a partner in protecting Florida businesses.”

Keith Perry has received the backing of the Florida Retail Federation in his Senate District 8 bid.

“Having a candidate like Keith, who understands what it takes to run a business successfully, is vital to ensuring our members and other Florida businesses receive the support they need from their legislators,” said FRF President & CEO Randy Miller. “Keith has the credentials, the knowledge and the passion that will serve business owners well in the Florida Senate.”

Perry a Republican will face Gainesville Democrat in Senate District 8.

Greg Steube received the backing of the Manatee-Sarasota Building Industry Association in his Senate District 23 bid.

“On behalf of the Manatee-Sarasota Building Industry Association, the Board of Directors, the Government Affairs Committee and staff, we are pleased to announce our unanimous endorsement of your candidacy for Senate District 23,” said Jon Mast, chief executive officer MSBIA. “We offer you our support for your campaign and look forward to your victory in both the primary and general elections in 2016.”

Steube faces Republicans Doug HolderRay PilonNora Patterson, and Rick Levine in the Aug. 30 primary. Democrats Frank Alcock and Frank Cirillo are also running.

“I am proud to be endorsed by the Manatee-Sarasota Building Industry Association, I have always fought to reduce regulations and taxes on our businesses,” said Steube. “My goal is simple; to make Florida the best place to thrive and grow your business as reflected by my “A” rating by the Florida Chamber of Commerce and my 2016 – Champions of Economic Freedom designation.”

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