Orange County Commission candidate Nicolette Springer has received the endorsement of Democratic state Rep. Amy Mercado in the District 4 race, Springer’s campaign announced Wednesday.

The announcement comes as a warning shot sent an hour before Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer is to announce his backing of his advisor Lori Harris in the race. It also comes as another major candidate in the race, Susan Makowski, announces she’s gathered enough petition signatures to qualify on the ballot.

There also are three other candidates in the field, Kevin Lance Ballinger, Maribel Gomez Cordero, and Gina Perez-Calhoun.

Mercado’s endorsement offers some weight, as her House District 48 covers much of the same territory as the Orange County District 4, and also provides the backing of one of the region’s most popular Puerto Rican political leaders in a district with a heavy Puerto Rican population.

“As a state legislator, businesswoman, and mother of 6, I proudly endorse Nicolette for Orange County Commission District 4,” Mercado stated in a news release issued by Springer’s campaign. “Nicolette’s love and work in the community, and her experience as an educator and criminologist will not only bring a fresh perspective to the county commission, but it will make the lives of those we both serve better.”

Springer added, “Representative Mercado’s success as a state legislator comes from her dedication and commitment to our community. I’m honored to receive her endorsement. Amy has set a high bar for leadership in our community and I plan to echo that example on the commission. Our community is strengthened by our unity. I look forward to serving our residents together.”

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