Florida Chamber makes endorsements in several legislative primaries

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After a thorough screening process, the Florida Chamber of Commerce announced recommendations in races for governor, the Cabinet and several battleground primary races statewide.

At the top of the ticket in November, the Chamber endorses all four Republican incumbents — Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater.

For the upcoming Aug. 26 primaries, the Chamber announced 23 Florida House and 6 state Senate endorsements. Many of the selections were for hotly contested state House races: Panama City Republican Jay Trumbull in District 6; Orange County Republican Terri Seefeldt in District 31; Colleen Burton in Lakeland’s District 40; Democrat Ed Narain in East Tampa’s District 61; and Venice Republican Julio Gonzalez in District 74.

Following five separate candidate-interview sessions with the Florida Chamber Political Institute (FCPI) and more than 100 non-incumbent candidates, the results reflect a candidates’ pro-business and pro-jobs stances. The Chamber selected Incumbents based on performance in the Florida Chamber’s Legislative Report Card.

“Good government can only be obtained by electing candidates who understand Florida’s future needs and who are not afraid to make bold decisions that will get us there,” said Chamber Senior Vice President of Political Operations Marian Johnson. “Interviewing the candidates and finding where they stand on those issues is an absolute necessity before you can make an informed decision about whom to support.”

Among the incumbents given thumbs up by the Chamber are Republican Sens. John Thrasher, Thad Altman, Jack Latvala, Lizbeth Benacquisto and Joe Negron. Democrat Sen. Oscar Braynon also made the Chamber cut.

For the House, the Chamber is supporting first-time Republican candidates Chris Sprowls, Chris Latvala, Bill Young and  incumbent Reps. Dane Eagle, Eric Eisnaugle, James Grant and Matt Caldwell, as well as the former GOP City of Longwood Mayor Bob Cortes.

“To create a stable and predictable business climate that helps to create private-sector jobs and grow our state’s economy, we need a legislature that focuses on free enterprise principles and solutions,” said Executive Vice President David Hart said in a statement. “We are pleased to support these pro-jobs, pro-business candidates and look forward to mobilizing our employer members and local chamber of commerce partners, as well as more than three million employees with far-reaching grassroots advocacy efforts.”

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.