EMILY’s List backs 21 Florida legislative candidates

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EMILY’s List, a national political action committee supporting Democratic women candidates who support abortion rights, is revealing its endorsement of 21 legislative candidates in Florida.

“The anti-choice extremist Republican majority in the state legislature continues to vote to push abortion out of reach for Floridians, and they will not stop until no one can access necessary reproductive health care,” EMILY’s List President Laphonza Butler said in a released statement.

“We know that these women are on the frontlines of the fight for our reproductive freedom and will advocate tirelessly until that right is restored. We are proud to stand with these candidates as they advance equity and justice across Florida.”

Most of the candidates snagging an endorsement are incumbents or Democrats without opposition in the Primary, but a handful of endorsements land in what could be fierce intra-party races.

Rep. Michelle Rayner of St. Petersburg is one of the candidates receiving EMILY’s List’s support. Rayner is in a Primary contest against former Rep. Wengay Newton, who is looking to regain his old seat in the Legislature in House District 62.

Also on the endorsement slate is Rep. Dotie Joseph of North Miami, another incumbent facing a Primary challenge for her re-election from a former member, ex-Rep. Roy Hardemon. Michael Etienne is also in that race for House District 108.

EMILY’s List is also backing Ashley Gantt, who is trying to unseat Rep. James Bush III of Miami in the Democratic Primary in House District 109.

The endorsement of one of the nation’s top abortion rights groups could help some of the candidates in tight races, but perhaps not until the General Election.

EMILY’s List spent $122,000 on Florida elections in 2020, with $83,500 of it going to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, through the United for Change political committee, although $73,500 came after the Primary that year.

Here’s the full list of EMILY’s List endorsements:

Loranne Ausley, Senate District 3

Tracie Davis, Senate District 5

Joy Goff-Marcil, Senate District 10

Janet Cruz, Senate District 14

Eunic Ortiz, Senate District 18

Lauren Book, Senate District 35

Raquel Pacheco, Senate District 36

Janelle Perez, Senate District 38

Angie Nixon, House District 13

Tiffany Hughes, House District 39

Anna Eskamani, House District 42

Johanna López, House District 43

Lindsay Cross, House District 60

— Michele Rayner, House District 62

Jen McDonald, House District 65

Fentrice Driskell, House District 67

Kelly Skidmore, House District 92

Linda Thompson Gonzalez, House District 100

Hillary Cassel, House District 101

— Dotie Joseph, House District 108

— Ashley Gantt, House District 109

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