The National Republican Campaign Committee announced Thursday it is backing both state Rep. Mike Miller and his primary challenger Scott Sturgill in the race to take on U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy in Florida’s 7th Congressional District.
The NRCC announced it was including both Miller and Sturgill in its “On the Radar” level of support, among 31 candidates nationally thus designated Thursday. The NRCC also named Bruno Barreiro in Florida’s 27th Congressional District, where there is a scramble to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
The announcement adds fuel to Sturgill’s campaign, signaling a clear race in what many initially considered Miller’s.
Miller, a two-term representative from Winter Park, entered the race in late June and has grabbed a number of big-name endorsements including those of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and former U.S. Sens. Mel Martinez of Orlando and Connie Mack III of Fort Myers.
Yet Sturgill, a small business owner from Sanford who entered the race in mid-July, loaned his own campaign $100,000, and with that raised more money than Miller, $206,000 to $156,000, through the end of September reporting period. He also grabbed the endorsement of Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera.
The district covers Seminole County and much of north central Orange County, and appears to be splitting along county lines between the more conservative Seminole and more moderate Orange.
Murphy, a first-term Democrat from Winter Park, had raised more than $1 million.
Barreiro, a Miami-Dade County commissioner, is one of three Republicans and a half-dozen Democrats making serious runs in CD 27.
Officially an NRCC effort for the past four election cycles, the On the Radar program requires the candidates to hit specific goals throughout the cycle to ensure their campaigns remain competitive, well-funded and communicative within their districts. On the Radar is the first of three levels in the NRCC’s Young Guns program.
“These 31 candidates are formidable competitors against the liberal agenda of Nancy Pelosi and the left,” NRCC Chairman Steve Stivers stated in a news release. “We look forward to working with these candidates to grow our Republican majority and enact policies that help hard working Americans.”