In dueling endorsements that may illustrate their bases among executives and rank-and-file, the U.S. Senate campaign of Republican Gov. Rick Scott announced the endorsement of the Florida Police Chiefs Association while the re-election campaign of Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson touted the backing of the state firefighters union.

On Thursday Scott’s campaign declared that this is the first time the Florida Police Chiefs Association, which includes more than 900 top law enforcement executives, has endorsed in a federal or U.S. Senate race.

Also on Thursday Nelson’s campaign declared that the Florida Professional Firefighters representing more than 25,000 firefighters and emergency medical services responders, endorsed him in part because of Scott’s opposition to a firefighters’ pay raise in 2015.

In a news release issued by Scott’s campaign, Amy Mercer, executive director of the Florida Police Chiefs Association, said, “Gov. Rick Scott is a true friend and partner to law enforcement across the state and it is an honor to offer our endorsement of his bid for the U.S. Senate. Today’s endorsement is a historic milestone for the Florida Police Chiefs Association as the first endorsement of a candidate for U.S. Senate. Gov. Scott has demonstrated leadership in the face of immense challenges over the past seven and a half years, and unlike many career politicians in Washington, when Governor Scott makes a commitment, he follows through. Gov. Scott has been a champion for public safety and a great friend to the law enforcement community, and we look forward to continuing to work with him to protect our families and communities once he is a member of the U.S. Senate.”

In a news release issued by Nelson’s campaign, James Tolley, president of the Florida Professional Firefighters said, “For those who are willing to risk their lives every day to protect millions of Floridians, it’s so important to have the support of leaders we know will support us, our work, our benefits and our families and Senator Nelson has been a tremendous advocate for Florida’s firefighters. Sen. Nelson has been steadfast in his support of firefighters and first responders, working to protect our health care and benefits. Senator Nelson led the fight in Congress to secure funding for training and vital equipment and technology to keep our firefighters and first responders safe on the job. When our benefits have been under attack, we know Sen. Nelson will always have our back in fighting for us and the support we need to do our jobs.”

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