Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman Add to Their Teams in Florida
With Rick Perry surging in the polls, former Massachusetts governor gets the backing of eight state legislators
Around the State
With Texas Gov. Rick Perry catching him in polls at the state and national level, former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts looked to secure Florida behind his bid for the Republican presidential nomination by unveiling the endorsements of several state legislators. Former Gov. Jon Huntsman of Utah also added to his bench in the Sunshine State this week.
“I am honored to receive the endorsements of so many great legislators in the Sunshine State,” said Romney on Thursday. “I look forward to working with these leaders to put Floridians and all Americans back to work, turn around the economy and make Barack Obama a one-term president.”
Romney announced the support of five state senators -- J.D. Alexander of Lake Wales, Mike Bennett of Bradenton, Anitere Flores of Miami, Evelyn Lynn of Daytona Beach and Stephen Wise of Jacksonville. The former Massachusetts governor, who came in second in the 2008 Florida presidential primary, also received the backing of three members of the Florida House -- Daniel Davis of Jacksonville, Shawn Harrison of Temple Terrace and Ed Hooper of Clearwater.
Alexander, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, highlighted Romney’s fiscal record on Thursday.
“Mitt Romney has the experience to put our financial house back in order,” said Alexander. “While he was governor, he balanced the budget without raising taxes and was a job creator. His experience in both business and government is exactly what we need to get the economy turned around.”
The backing of Wise and Davis will help Romney continue to build his efforts in securing the First Coast, where he beat out John McCain and the rest of the field in 2008. Romney already has the support of a large number of the First Coast’s political leaders, including U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw, state Sen. John Thrasher, R-Jacksonville, and former Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton.
Romney was not the only Republican presidential hopeful building his team in the Sunshine State this week. While his bid for the Republican presidential nomination is flopping in the polls at the national level and in most states, Huntsman announced that he had garnered the endorsements of two prominent Florida Republicans -- state Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, and Coral Gables Mayor Jim Cason.
"Ellyn and Jim are tremendous public servants and community leaders, and I am humbled to gain their support," said Huntsman, who has based his campaign in Orlando. "I look forward to working with them as we continue to spread our message in Florida and across the nation."
"Floridians need jobs, and Governor Huntsman is the candidate with the leadership and experience to deliver," said Bogdanoff, who was first elected to the Florida House in 2004 before moving up to the Senate. "Due to the pro-growth policies he implemented as governor -- including historic tax cuts -- Utah led the nation in job creation and was named the best-managed state in America. This is precisely what our nation needs today to get us out of these tough economic times."
"I am excited to support a fellow ambassador like Jon for president," said Cason, who served as ambassador to Paraguay under President George W. Bush. "He is the only candidate who offers the combination of the executive experience that comes from managing a state with extensive foreign policy experience. He is qualified to represent America's strength and ideals on the national and the global stage, which is especially critical in these tumultuous times."
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (850) 727-0859.