Two congressmen from Florida running for the U.S. Senate in 2016 claimed momentum on Thursday as they added to their lists of endorsements. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is currently running for the Republican presidential nomination and has said he will not seek a second term.
U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., announced on Thursday that his U.S. Senate campaign had around $1.1 million cash on hand and major Republican donors were supporting his efforts.
“I am grateful for the support my campaign has received,” DeSantis said on Thursday. “The Floridians I thank today have done so much for so many great causes. The support I receive through their efforts will help me spread my message throughout Florida.”
DeSantis announced he had gotten the financial support of some of the leading Republicans in Florida, including former Gov. Bob Martinez, former Ambassador John Rood and former Ambassador Francis Rooney. The two former ambassadors have been major donors for Republican candidates at the state and national levels. DeSanits has won the support of several national conservative groups including FreedomWorks and Club for Growth.
While he is the only major Republican candidate currently in the race, DeSantis could soon have company. Republicans looking at entering the Senate race include former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, U.S. Reps. Curt Clawson and David Jolly, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, former state Attorney General Bill McCollum, former Florida Senate President Don Gaetz and businessman Randy Fine.
Over on the Democratic side, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., added to his team in Broward County on Thursday. Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler, Broward County Mayor Tim Ryan, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, Broward County Property Appraiser Lori Parrish and four county commissioners, including former state Rep. Martin Kiar, fell in line behind Murphy.
"Broward County is key to our success next November," Murphy said on Thursday. "Democrats across the county need a senator who will fight for the middle class, protect Social Security and Medicare, work together to protect the environment, and stand up for a woman's right to choose. I intend to be that senator with the help of these great public servants. I look forward to working with them to share my vision with all of Broward County and the entire state of Florida."
Democratic politicians, including former Gov. Charlie Crist, four members of Congress and mayors across the state have endorsed Murphy even as U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., continues to leave the door open to entering the Senate race. Despite endorsing DeSantis, the Club for Growth launched a new TV ad this week praising Grayson for standing against the Export-Import Bank and assailing Murphy for supporting it.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter: @KevinDerbySSN