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Independent business group endorses Dean Asher in SD 13 race

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An independent business group announced Thursday it would endorse Republican candidate Dean Asher in the Senate District 13 race.

The National Federation of Independent Businesses, which represents 325,000 small-business owners, announced their support and presented the Orlando-area real estate broker and former Florida Realtors president with a check during a Thursday luncheon.

“NFIB represents every independent business in Florida. Where can we go without touching an independent business owner in Florida/” Asher said after accepting a check from the organization. “We must do everything we can to make sure these businesses can operate and grow in this great state.”

Asher holds a massive fundraising advantage over his competition, Democrat Rick Roach and Republican Chuck Sheridan. As of his September report, the first-time candidate had brought in more than $164,000 in contributions and had only spent about $18,000, leaving him with just over $146,000 cash-on-hand.

Roach, a former Orange County School Board member, had about $50,000 in contributions and $32,000 cash-on-hand through the same date, while Sheridan, a retired general contractor, has not shown any signs of life since filing for the seat in mid-June.

District 13 has a fairly even voter registration split between the two major parties though it does carry a slight GOP tilt. Current District 13 state Sen. Andy Gardiner, who will leave office after his go as Senate president, beat his Democrat Christopher Pennington by 10 points in 2012. Gardiner raised nearly $600,000 that cycle compared to his competition’s anemic $18,000 haul, which largely came in through loans.

Even though Roach has nearly tripled Pennington’s numbers so far, and has the benefit of running against a non-incumbent, Asher’s fundraising success and momentum should go a long way in keeping District 13 in Republican control.

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for SaintPetersBlog and FloridaPolitics.com. While at the University of Florida, Wilson was an editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and after graduation, he moved to Los Angeles to cover business deals for The Hollywood Reporter. Before joining Extensive Enterprises, Wilson covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools.

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