Florida’s largest retail advocacy organization — representing the state’s No. 2 industry — announced on Tuesday two Republican endorsements in state House races.
The Florida Retail Federation (FRF) is supporting former Polk Vision executive director Colleen Burton in the House District 40 race and Republican Party of Florida vice chair Blaise Ingoglia in House District 35.
Burton faces Lakeland attorney and Marine Corps veteran John Shannon in the HD 40 GOP primary to replace term-limited Rep. Seth McKeel. HD 40 covers metropolitan Lakeland and much of Polk County. The winner faces Democrat Ricky Shirah and American Independent Party candidate Franklin Shoemaker.
“(Burton) exemplifies the leadership Floridians need in the capital to tackle the issues vital to the economic success of the state of Florida,” said Melissa Joiner Ramba, FRF director of government affairs. “Colleen Burton’s stellar record of problem-solving and consensus-building has shown she’s ready to lead in the Legislature. Florida’s retailers are proud to support her election.”
Ingoglia, a Spring Hill homebuilder and former professional tournament poker player, faces Democratic former commissioner Rose Rocco for the seat currently held by term-limited Republican Rep. Rob Schenck. HD 35 covers much of Hernando County.
“As a small business owner, Blaise Ingoglia is familiar with the need for lower taxes and keeping businesses in his community,” Ramba added.
FRF issues recommendations based on a combination of candidate interviews and reviews of positions relevant to Florida retailers and the state business climate. The association based its endorsements of Burton on her “exemplary record of leadership in Polk County and her in-depth knowledge of economic and governmental issues,” and Ingoglia for his “strong community and professional leadership.”
Ramba also announced the FRF would release additional legislative endorsements prior to the Aug. 26 primary election.