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Rick Perry and Herman Cain Continue to Get Support in Florida

October 2, 2011 - 6:00pm

Two of the leading candidates for the Republican presidential nomination continued to gain the support of prominent Floridians as the stakes get higher in the Florida primary, which will be held early in the election cycle.

Longtime Florida Republican activist Paul Senft endorsed Gov. Rick Perry of Texas for the GOP presidential nomination on Monday. Senft has been active with the Republican National Executive Committee, serving as a national committeeman for Florida since 2004. Senft has also been active in his home base of Haines City, having led the Polk County Republican Executive Committee.

"Im proud to endorse Governor Perry for president -- he has been leading Texas to more job creation, while President Obama has failed to lead on anything, Senft said in a statement released on Monday by the Perry team. Governor Perry's proven record of job creation is the best of any candidate in the field, and as a man of faith he is the strong, principled leader this party and our nation need. He will be an excellent commander-in-chief and respect the 10th Amendment to make Washington less intrusive in state government and less consequential in our daily lives so that our country can thrive and prosper as we rebuild our global pride and respect.

Paul Senft has been a powerful force in advancing the values and priorities of the Republican Party in Florida, and I am honored to have his endorsement, said Perry. I look forward to his partnership in this campaign as I travel the nation sharing my vision to restore our economy and get America working again.

Perry -- who finished a disappointing second in the Republican Party of Floridas Presidency 5 straw poll in Orlando last month and whose surge in national polls has stalled -- has picked up the backing of some of the leading Republicans in the state, including House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, and incoming Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville.

Businessman Herman Cain, who won the won the Presidency 5 straw poll, gained the backing of two members of Cannons caucus late last week.

Cains camp announced on Friday that they had won the backing of state Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami. Last week, Cain called Trujillo, who represents parts of Miami-Dade County, and received the endorsement of the freshman legislator.

Cain also garnered the endorsement of another freshman in the Florida House last week -- Rep. Larry Ahern, R-St. Petersburg. Ahern represents parts of Pinellas County.

Besides Trujilo and Ahern, only one member of the Florida Legislature has backed Cain -- Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood. Plakon announced before the Presidency 5 straw poll that he was endorsing Cain.

Reach Kevin Derby at or at (850) 727-0859.

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