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Endorsement Watch: Florida Retail Federation, Florida Conservation Voters, NRA issue endorsements

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

Several organizations — the Florida Retail Federation, Florida Conservation Voters, and the NRA Political Victory Fund — issued endorsements.

Neal Dunn has received the backing of the NRA Political Victory Fund.

“As a staunch supporter and defender of the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms, I am proud to have been endorsed by, and received an AQ rating from, the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund,” said Dunn, a Panama City surgeon for the past 25 years. “Our Second Amendment is one the most fundamental aspects in our Constitution. If elected, I will fight for, and protect, this right in Congress, while defending our Constitution.”

According to the NRA-PVF, an AQ candidate is a pro-gun candidate whose rating is based solely on the candidate’s responses to the NRA-PVF candidate questionnaire and who does not have a voting record on Second Amendment issues. It is the highest rating possible for a non-incumbent.

Dunn faces Democrat Walter Dartland in Florida’s 2nd Congressional District.

Bob Buesing has received the backing of Florida Conservation Voters.

The organization announced it was endorsing Buesing in Senate District 18, saying he was committed to clean energy while keeping costs affordable for working families.

“Bob Buesing will be an outstanding advocate for Florida’s waterways, beaches, and conservation lands,” said Aliki Moncrief, executive director of FCV. “Bob has a lifetime of leadership on behalf of the Tampa Bay community and will be a courageous environmental ally as a state senator. His voice will be needed as we work to ban fracking in Florida, protect our waterways, and build a plan to mitigate the effects of sea-level rise.”

Buesing faces Majority Leader Dana Young in SD 18.

“Preserving our precious Florida environment is critical to our way of life; our economy, tourism, and recreation depend on it,” said Buesing. “I am committed to ensuring the long-term sustainability of our resources by working with local governments to ban dangerous practices such as fracking. Our community deserves a senator who will stand up to special interests and work to defend our remarkable waters and public lands for future generations.”

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine is backing Jose Javier Rodriguez in Senate District 37.

“Rep. Jose Javier Rodriguez has been a champion of our environment in Tallahassee and is well prepared to take on the threats of climate change and sea level rise with meaningful solutions in the Florida Senate,” said Levine in a statement. “I am proud to endorse Jose Javier Rodriguez as our next state senator because we need more leaders like him in Tallahassee.”

Rodriguez faces Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla in SD 37.

“[Levine] has been on the front lines of confronting sea level rise and climate change with real solutions,” said Rodriguez in a statement. “In Tallahassee, mayors like Philip Levine can count on having partner in me who is ready to get to work in ensuring the Florida Legislature takes these threats seriously by allocating the resources our cities and counties need.”

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell has received the backing of the SAVE Action PAC.

“Every person has the right to feel safe and protected in their communities regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, or who someone loves,” said Mucarsel-Powell. “It is unacceptable that today in Florida a person can be fired for being a member of the LGBTQ community. I am proud to accept the endorsement of SAVE Action PAC and … 65,000 pro-equality constituents.”

The political committee is dedicated to electing candidates who work to promote, protect, and defend equality for the LGBTQ community.

Mucarsel-Powell faces Sen. Anitere Flores in state SD 39.

The Florida Retail Federation is backing Ross Spano, a Dover Republican, in his re-election bid for House District 59.

“During his time in the House, Ross has been focused on small businesses and providing them the support they need to succeed,” said Randy Miller, the president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation, in a statement. “We’re confident Ross will continue to focus on Florida businesses following his re-election in House District 59 and we’re eager to continue our great relationship with him.”

First elected in 2012, Spano most recently served as the vice chairman of the House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee and the K-12 Subcommittee.

Spano faces Democrat Rena Frazier in the Nov. 8 General Election.

Alex Miller also has earned the backing of the Florida Retail Federation.

“As CEO of a company, Alex is very familiar with the problems and issues that businesses face trying to start up, grow, and expand in Florida,” said Miller. “Her experience and knowledge of running a successful business as a member of the Florida House will be a great asset to our members when it comes to removing burdensome regulations and crafting pro-business legislation that can help them to succeed.”

Miller has served as CEO of Mercedes Medical, a multi-million-dollar medical products distribution business, since 2005.

The Sarasota Republican faces Edward James III in HD 72.

In addition, Florida Retail Federation has thrown its support behind John Couriel in House District 114.

“John spent time as a prosecutor protecting Floridians and their businesses from crime,” said Miller. “We look forward to John continuing his fighting ways as a member of the Florida House and working to support retailers and local businesses.”

A Miami Republican, Couriel worked for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. In that role, he assisted the judge with criminal, civil, and national security matters. He went on to serve in private practice, before becoming an assistant U.S. attorney.

Couriel faces Democrat Daisy Baez in the Nov. 8 general election.

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