Three sitting state representatives and one former state representative have received endorsements of the Orlando Sentinel for Florida Senate primary races in Central Florida.
Citing experience in each case, the Sentinel went with state Reps. Randolph Bracy in Orlando-based Senate District 11; Marlene O’Toole in The Villages-based Senate District 12; and Vic Torres in Orlando-based Senate District 15. The pick in Orlando-based Senate District 13 is former state Rep. Mike Clelland.
In most cases the Sentinel noted that primary candidates, also have experience, but made the endorsements also based on who was most effective and willing to work across the aisle.
Bracy faces former state Sen. Gary Siplin, former state Rep. Bob Sindler and environmental activist Chuck O’Neal in the Aug. 30 primary. Bracy, the Sentinel said, “has served as his party’s ranking member on House Criminal Justice Subcommittee. He has worked well with the Legislature’s Republican majority.”
O’Toole faces fellow state Rep. Dennis Baxley and businessman David Gee. The Sentinel criticized Baxley for pursuing politically divisive issues, while calling O’Toole “a strong conservative, but more pragmatic than her opponents.”
Clelland faces fellow former state Rep. Linda Stewart and former Orange County School Board Member Rick Roach. The Sentinel praised them all, but called Clelland ” quick study on issues, Clelland made ethics reform his signature issue during his term in the Legislature. He was willing to work across the aisle with the Legislature’s Republican majority, a smart strategy for Democrats who hope to be effective. “
Torres faces Kissimmee businessman Bob Healy in the primary. The Sentinel declared Torres “an active and effective legislator” who “worked well with Republicans on measures to improve public safety and prevent domestic violence. He helped lead the successful fight to make in-state tuition at state universities and colleges available to undocumented immigrants.”