Carlos Guillermo Smith announced endorsements from 13 sitting Democratic members of the Florida House on Monday morning, in his bid to be the next representative from House District 49.

The list includes State Reps. Lori Berman, Randolph Bracy, Dwight Dudley, Joseph Gellar, Evan Jenne, Shevrin Jones, Dave Kerner, Amanda Murphy, Bobby Powell, Kevin Rader, Richard Stark, Clovis Watson, and Alan Williams.

Murphy told supporters in an email announcement that Smith, who worked as a public policy specialist for Equality Florida the previous Legislative Session, is already doing the work they need in done in Tallahassee saying, “Carlos led the charge along with House Democrats and like-minded Republicans to block and kill legislation that enshrined discrimination against minorities into Florida statute. What Carlos helped us do took more than just a willingness to fight for what is right.”

Smith is the front runner for the left-leaning district that consists of parts of East Orlando and the University of Central Florida. Fellow Democrat Gus Martinez has also filed but has had little campaign activity. The real challenge could come for Smith if Betsy Franceschini, Florida regional director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration, were to run.

There is a movement to draft her in the race by members of the community in the area. Incumbent Republican Rene Plasencia has announced he’ll be running in House 50 next year, Businessman Peter Vivaldi is expected to run for the nomination.

The former Orange Democratic chairman was grateful for the support, telling Florida Politics, “The House Democratic caucus has been like my family since 2011, when I started as an aide for Rep. Scott Randolph and then continued in 2012-2014 with Rep. Joe Saunders. I’m honored by this show of support and look forward to calling these Democrats my colleagues when we win in 2016.”

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