U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio has announced his endorsement of Julio Gonzalez in the House District 74 race.
Gonzalez, a Venice orthopedic surgeon, faces former prosecutor and Republican Party leader Richard DeNapoli in the district covering Osprey, Venice and parts of North Port and Englewood. The two are running for the seat vacated by term-limited Rep. Doug Holder.
“Julio Gonzalez is living the American Dream,” Rubio said in a statement issued Thursday. “A doctor, veteran and community leader, Julio and his wife Gina are raising their two daughters in South Sarasota County.
“He’s lived, worked and contributed to the community for a decade, and now he wants to give back by representing the area in the State House. One of my earliest and strongest supporters, Julio Gonzalez is a real conservative who I am pleased to endorse and support for State Representative.”
Gonzales responded by calling Rubio “one of Florida’s great Speakers of the House,” and “one of our nation’s preeminent leaders in conservative political thought.”
“Senator Rubio has been a stalwart of conservative, ethical, and responsible leadership throughout his career. I am thrilled to have earned his confidence and trust in my efforts to fill the House District 74 seat.”
In endorsing Gonzalez, Rubio joins a list of prominent Republicans, including U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, State Sen. Kelli Stargel, former State Sen. Lisa Carlton, State Reps. Jim Boyd, Ken Roberson, Dennis Baxley, and Mike Hill and Public Defender Larry Eger.
Also lining up behind the first-time candidate are State Attorney Ed Brodsky, Sheriff Tom Knight, Commissioners Christine Robinson and Charles Hines, the City of Venice Mayor John Holic, Vice-Mayor Emilio Carlesimo, and City Council Member Jeanette Gates.