Florida Realtors Endorse GOP Cabinet Ticket, State Legislative Candidates

On Wednesday, the Florida Realtors announced their support for the Republican ticket running for state Cabinet offices.

Through the Florida Realtors PAC, the group backed the entire GOP ticket: former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., for governor; former Judge Ashley Moody for attorney general; keeping state CFO Jimmy Patronis in office; and state Rep. Matt Caldwell, R-Lehigh Acres, for agriculture commissioner.

“As realtors, we pride ourselves on our long-standing efforts to defend private property rights, promote community prosperity and preserve a professional climate that ensures the economic growth of Florida,” says Ann DeFries, the chairwoman of Florida Realtors PAC Trustees. “Our continued success in these efforts involves elected officials who share these beliefs and will work with our 180,000+ members to help Floridians and their communities thrive.”

“Candidates were evaluated on numerous factors, including their voting record on issues that are relevant to the real estate profession,” the PAC noted.

They also made the following state Senate endorsements, listed by district:

59. Joe Wicker

2018 Florida Primary Election Recap

Last night, Florida held its Primary Elections. The results are currently considered UNOFFICIAL due to not being certified yet.

One United States Senate seat, all Congressional seats, the Florida Cabinet, half of the State Senate, and all State House seats are up for election this year.

Several incumbents won re-election automatically as they faced no opposition in the primary or general. In the U.S. Senate Race, Gov. Rick Scott easily won his primary election and will face off against incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson in November. In the Congressional primaries, due to retirement of Congressional members Ros-Lehtinen, Ross, and Rooney, as well as Congressman Desantis — who is in pursuit of being Florida’s next governor only — four of the 27 races were open elections.

Due to state-imposed term limits, all positions on the Florida cabinet are open in 2018 with one limited exception; CFO Jimmy Patronis, who was appointed to the position a year ago, is now seeking to maintain his position in his first statewide race.  In the Florida Senate, only five of that body’s 40 seats races were “open,” meaning no incumbent is defending the position. And in the Florida House, both term limits and members choosing to run for higher office resulted in 34 open seats in the 120 member institution.

We now have a clearer picture of the match ups for state House and Senate for the Nov. 6 General Election, with the Republicans looking to retain control of the Governor’s Mansion, Cabinet, Senate and House.

State Legislative Races

In House District 59, Joe Wicker, an Army veteran who owns a home health-care business defeated Rhonda Storms, former Hillsborough County commissioner and state Senator, in the Republican primary. He will run against Democrat Adam Hattersley in the November general election to replace Rep. Ross Spano, who resigned to run for Congress.

Florida House: Ronda Storms’ comeback ends in GOP primary

Republican candidate Joe Wicker said he received a concession call about 9 p.m. from opponent Ronda Storms in the District 59 State House Republican primary.

Wicker chalked his victory up to hard work and voters wanting a fresh face.

"The community had a desire to move forward and put some common-sense business people in office to bring in fresh ideas and new leadership into our state government," he said. "I think people wanted to shake things up."

Voters, he said, "wanted to see outsiders, business people with real-world experience."

"We found the voters that had never been talked to by a candidate before," he said. "That had a huge effect."

The race to represent a district that encompasses most of Brandon and parts of Bloomingdale, Riverview, Valrico, Dover, Palm River and Clair-Mel City, pitted Wicker, 40, an Army veteran and relative political newcomer versus Storms, 52, a former state senator and Hillsborough County commissioner.

As an early entrant, Wicker grabbed a number of important endorsements, starting with Ross Spano. Wicker unsuccessfully challenged Spano in 2012 in his only prior run for office. But about a month ago, Spano withdrew his endorsement, citing the entry of Storms into the race.

Wicker picked up the backing of key GOP leaders like county commissioners Al Higginbotham and Stacy White. And he has received endorsements from the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the Florida Realtors PAC and the Tampa Bay Times.

With more than $63,000 and 143 contributions, Wicker raised more than three times as much money as Storms as of Aug. 16. Storms collected almost $18,000 in 74 contributions.

During the campaign, Storms acknowledged that Wicker was the choice of the Republican leaders even before she got into the race, but she entered because so many people were asking for help with issues like flooding and crime.

Storms served two terms as a county commissioner, 1998-2006, and served in the Senate beginning in 2006 before leaving midway through her second term to run unsuccessfully for property appraiser.

During her time in office, representing conservative districts centered in east Hillsborough, she drew attention for her stands on moral issues. She pushed through a policy barring the county from recognizing gay pride events.

Tonight, Storms said she called Wicker to congratulate him on his victory.

"We ran a really good race," Storms said. "We had nothing, and people were giving us gifts of stamps.  It was a really good experience. It was not the outcome I hoped for, but I really feel blessed."

Personhood FL ProLife PAC: Joe Wicker Endorsed for the 2018 Primary and General Election

Personhood FL ProLife PAC has increased our list of endorsed, prolife candidates for federal, state, district, and local offices across Florida to over 65. Endorsed candidates include Florida Commissioner of Agriculture candidates Matt Caldwell and Denise GrimsleyFL Senator Dennis Baxley, Florida House Majority Leader Ray Rodrigues, Florida House Majority Whip Dane Eagle, FL House Members Jennifer Sullivan, Stan McClain, Mel Ponder, and Robert “Bobby O” Olszewski, Palm Beach County judicial candidate Allen “Antonio” Ambrosino, and local candidates from over 16 counties. Personhood FL ProLife PAC endorsed Republicans, Democrats, and NPA candidates for every office from US House to county hospital boards and every position in-between.

All endorsed candidates signed a Personhood Affirmation indicating their agreement to Personhood FL ProLife PAC’s comprehensive prolife principles covering not only abortion but also abortion funding, RU-486, fetal stem cell research, human cloning, fetal tissue research, and assisted suicide and euthanasia. Candidates also affirmed that all humans should be protected under the Florida and US Constitutions from the beginning of the biological development of that human being to natural death. Moreover, candidates agreed to defend all innocent human life including preborn babies irrespective of their manner of conception, the elderly, and the disabled. (Read Personhood FL ProLife PAC’s ProLife Principles and Personhood Affirmation here.)

Personhood FL ProLife PAC Chair1 Bryan Longworth praised the endorsements and encouraged prolife voters to support prolife candidates. “Personhood FL ProLife PAC has today endorsed candidates who have committed to protecting all innocent human life, without exception. It’s no longer sufficient to merely be against abortion in certain circumstances. Being prolife in the 21st Century demands that we defend innocent human life in and out the womb from beginning to end. I encourage prolife Florida voters to support these candidates with their votes, their time, and their donations.”

The following candidates have signed the Personhood FL ProLife PAC Personhood Affirmation demonstrating their commitment to be prolife in the 21st Century.

Please note that we are continuing to process candidate paperwork daily, so check back often to see if additional candidates in your area have been endorsed.

Ronda Storms falling short in contributions but insists she has a chance against Joe Wicker

The Republican primary for the 59th state House seat pits a political figure with high name recognition against a business owner who's winning the race for money and endorsements.

Joe Wicker, 40, is an Army veteran who owns a home health-care business. He was first to enter the primary race to replace Ross Spano, who left the seat in a bid for state Attorney General that he eventually dropped. Months later, Ronda Storms, 52, a former state senator and Hillsborough county commissioner, entered the race.

As an early entrant, Wicker grabbed a number of important endorsements, starting with Spano. Wicker unsuccessfully challenged Spano in 2012 in his only prior run for office. But about a month ago, Spano withdrew his endorsement, citing the entry of Storms into the race.

Wicker has also picked up the backing of key GOP leaders like county commissioners Al Higginbotham and Stacy White. And he has received endorsements from the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the Florida Realtors PAC and the Tampa Bay Times.

With more than $63,000 and 143 contributions, Wicker has also raised more than three times as much money as Storms as of Aug. 16. Storms has collected almost $18,000 in 74 contributions.

To Wicker, the numbers show that voters are ready for someone new in the district, which encompasses most of Brandon and parts of Bloomingdale, Riverview, Valrico, Dover, Palm River and Clair-Mel City.

That's not Storms, he said.

"People want an alternative. The first time she ran for office was in 1996. I was 17 and couldn't even vote."

Storms acknowledged that Wicker was the choice of the Republican leaders even before she got into the race, but she entered because so many people were asking for help with issues like flooding and crime.

Storms served two terms as a county commissioner, 1998-2006, and served in the Senate beginning in 2006 before leaving midway through her second term to run unsuccessfully for property appraiser.

During her time in office, representing conservative districts centered in east Hillsborough, she drew attention for her stands on moral issues. She pushed through a policy barring the county from recognizing gay pride events.

Storms said the actions of her opponent and his supporters shows they're concerned she could win.

"If I was not a factor, I wouldn't be having pieces mailed against me every single day," she said. "They attack the leader."

Campaign mailers sent to district voters seek to link Storms to Democrats such as former President Barack Obama and U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist.
Wicker said he has nothing to do with the mailers.

"But I would say that I think the message of getting new fresh ideas into government," he said, "and ending the cycle of career politicians is one that a large majority of us would agree with."

Wicker said his top legislative priorities include improving healthcare delivery, regulatory reform and the condition of roads in the district. Storms said public safety, education and fighting "crony capitalism" are her top three issues.

Despite their differences, there is one thing both candidates agree on: Voters support President Donald Trump.

"If a candidate is not solidly behind the president, that is a death knell," said Hillsborough County Republican party Chairman Jim Waurishuk.

"I support the president's agenda 100 percent," Wicker said.

And Storms: "People want to know you support the president. I want the president to succeed."

Republican Liberty Caucus of Florida Releases Endorsements in Gubernatorial, Florida Cabinet, and Florida Legislative Races

The Republican Liberty Caucus of Florida has released its endorsements in a number of Florida House and Senate races, as well as the races for Governor, Attorney General and Commissioner of Agriculture.

“For twenty five years the Republican Liberty Caucus has been a strong voice for the principles of limited government, free enterprise and individual liberty within the Republican Party” said Austin Sekel, Vice Chairman of the RLC of Florida. “We believe that less government means more liberty and we work through local chapters and with our member activists all over the country to oppose government excess and demand accountability to the people and the Constitution.” According to Sekel, members of the Republican Liberty Caucus and the candidates they endorse, support the principles contained in the “Liberty Compact” of the organization.

“We work to restore liberty not restrict it; shrink government, not expand it; reduce taxes, not raise them; abolish programs, not create them; promote the freedom and independence of citizens, not the interference of government in their lives; and observe the limited, enumerated powers of our Constitution, not ignore them.”

“We are convinced that these candidates will champion the principles contained in our Liberty Compact, and we are proud to stand with them” said Sekel.

Florida House of Representatives:

District 59 – Joe Wicker

About Republican Liberty Caucus

The Republican Liberty Caucus is a 527 voluntary grassroots membership organization dedicated to working within the Republican Party to advance the principles of individual rights, limited government and free markets. Founded in 1991, it is the oldest continuously-operating organization within the Liberty Republican movement.

Florida Realtors® PAC announces additional candidate endorsements for Florida House of Representatives

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Aug. 3, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Florida Realtors PAC announced additional candidate endorsements for the 2018 election cycle.

Candidates were evaluated on numerous factors, including their voting record on issues relevant to the real estate profession and property owners.

Florida Realtors PAC candidates for the Florida House:

HD 59 - Joe Wicker

These endorsements are a follow up to the initial list of endorsements announced on July 9, 2018, and additional endorsements announced on July 20, 2018. All endorsement announcements can be found at http://pac.floridarealtors.org/2018-election-center-2/.

Paid political advertisements are paid for by Realtors Political Advocacy Committee, independently of any candidate. Address: 115 East Park Avenue, Suite 1, Tallahassee, FL 32301.

Florida Realtors is the largest trade association in the state with more than 180,000 members and serves as the voice for real estate in Florida. Its mission is to advance Florida's real estate industry by shaping public policy on real property issues; encouraging, promoting and teaching consistent standards for ethical practice and professionalism; and building on the efforts of its 54 local boards/associations to provide the information and tools members need to succeed. Florida Realtors Media Center website is available at http://media.floridarealtors.org .

Times recommends: For the Florida House

Florida faces serious challenges ranging from demand for better access to affordable health care to parents’ frustration with the emphasis on standardized testing in public schools. There are disagreements over how much control to give local governments, whether to overhaul the criminal justice system and how to invest in transportation options. Hot-button issues such as legalizing recreational marijuana, legalizing sports betting and limiting abortion rights also may come up next year.

Joe Wicker | District 59, Republicans

The question for Republicans in this race is whether to step backward or move forward. For those who want to move forward, Joe Wicker is the best choice.

Wicker, 40, is an Army veteran who owns a home health agency and narrowly lost the Republican primary for this seat in 2012. He has a solid, pro-growth agenda that reflects the core of his party. He is a small-business advocate who wants to cut government regulations and create a stronger business environment. He opposes any new taxes and supports school choice. Wicker wants to make health care costs more transparent by enabling patients to see the cost of services up front. He is open to working with Democrats on reforming the justice system by looking at giving judges more discretion in sentencing nonviolent offenders.

Ronda Storms, 52, was a divisive figure during her time on the Hillsborough County Commission, where she served from 1998 to 2006 before serving a forgettable six years in the Florida Senate. Her penchant for inflaming battles against those she looked upon as different did not serve her constituents or epitomize public service.

Wicker can be expected to be a reliable vote for the House’s conservative Republican leadership. His energy and professional demeanor could make him an effective freshman legislator. Local Republican leaders have lined up behind Wicker, an indication he would solidly support the east county communities of Palm River, Brandon and Valrico.

In the Republican primary for Florida House District 59, the Tampa Bay Times recommends Joe Wicker.

Florida Chamber is Proud to Endorse Joe Wicker Pro-Business, Pro-Jobs Candidate

The Florida Chamber of Commerce  announces its endorsement of Joe Wicker for Florida House District 59.

“Joe Wicker is committed to ensure the right policies are created in the Legislature so that Florida’s families and businesses can continue to prosper and grow,” said Marian Johnson, Senior Vice President of Political Strategy at the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “The Florida Chamber is proud to endorse Joseph Wicker for Florida House District 59”

Joe Wicker was endorsed for his pro-jobs commitment and support of continuing to move Florida in the right direction.

“As a small businessman, I know just how important it is we have leaders who help keep government out of the way of entrepreneurs and job creators and help business grow and hire more people,” said Wicker. “I’m proud that an organization with such a long history of advocating for small business has endorsed by candidacy.”