Even though he is not backing Donald Trump’s presidential bid, U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., is reeling in the support of some top Republicans while his Democratic opponent insists he’s not representing his district.
Rooney showcased some of his conservative support on Thursday,
“I’m truly humbled to have the grassroots support from my local community and our conservative leaders, in addition to so many prominent organizations,” Rooney said. “I am proud to be their voice in Congress and hope to represent them for another term.”
That support includes the backing of Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.
“Tom Rooney understands the challenges that our farmers and ranchers face and I am confident he will continue to be a strong advocate for Florida agriculture,” Putnam said. “I am proud to call Tom a friend and proud do call him my congressman.”
The National Rifle Association, National Right to Life and the Polk County chapter of the Florida Farm Bureau are also behind Rooney.
“The NRA-PVF is proud to endorse Tom Rooney for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 17th Congressional District,” the NRA announced in a release. “Tom has demonstrated unwavering support for law-abiding gun owners in Florida and throughout the United States and is the only candidate in this race that has stood strong against the Obama/Bloomberg/Clinton gun control agenda.”
Democrat April Freeman ran against Curt Clawson for an open congressional seat in 2014 is now further north looking to topple Rooney. She jabbed Rooney this week, insisting her campaign has polled voters across the district and found most voters could not identify who represented them in the U.S. House.
"This is by no means a reflection of the constituents in CD17," Freeman said, insisting 88 percent of voters asked had no idea Rooney was their representative. “It is however a crystal clear reflection of Rep. Tom Rooney, his lack of accessibility and the lack of time he has spent in the district."
Freeman attempted to paint a contrast between herself and the incumbent congressman.
"I travel this district on a daily basis and unfortunately these results do not surprise me," Freeman said. "The people of Florida's 17th Congressional District deserve better, and I'm running to do better.”
John Sawyer is also in the mix, running with no party affiliation. Rooney is considered by most pundits to be a heavy favorite to retain the seat.
Earlier this month, after a recording of Trump engaging in a lewd conversation emerged, Rooney said he would not vote for the Republican presidential hopeful. Rooney, who is considered a likely candidate for statewide office in the future, also said he would not back Hillary Clinton for the presidency either.
“As the father of three young sons, I don’t want my boys growing up in a world where the president of the United States is allowed to speak or treat women the way Donald Trump has,” Rooney said earlier this month. “My greatest responsibility in life is to try and be a good husband and father. If I support him for president, I will be telling my boys that I think it’s okay to treat women like objects – and I’ll have failed as a dad. Therefore, I can no longer support Donald Trump for president and will not be voting for him or Hillary Clinton.”