Democratic Rep. Ed Narain announced Monday that Hillsborough County Commission Chairman Lesley “Les” Miller has endorsed his bid for the District 19 seat in the Florida Senate.
“I’ve known Ed Narain since he was a student leader at the University of South Florida and now as State Representative,” said Miller, who himself served 14 years as a lawmaker. “His leadership and ability to bring people together are rare features in elected officials today.”
“Having been elected Chair of the Legislative Black Caucus during his first term, he has the respect of Democrats – and Republicans across the state. I am confident in his ability to represent all of Tampa Bay, to be an effective voice for our community, and to stand up for Democratic values,” Miller continued.
Narain said the endorsement is “humbling” and that he hopes to follow in Miller’s footsteps, as well as those of Sen. Arthenia Joyner, who is vacating the seat due to term limits.
The nod from Miller adds to an impressive list of Florida pols backing Narain in the four-way primary race, including endorsements from Joyner, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, former U.S. Rep. Jim Davis, as well as Florida House colleagues Janet Cruz, Mark Pafford and David Richardson.
The Tampa Democrat led the money race through June 24 with about $100,000 in his campaign account, followed by fellow Democratic Rep. Darryl Rouson with about $41,000 and former Democratic Rep. Betty Reed with about $16,000.
Augie Ribeiro, the fourth Democrat in the race, has about $800 in the bank, while lone Republican candidate John Houman, who bills himself as “Mr. Manners” in his filing paperwork, has just $665 on hand through three months in the race.