The Associated Industries of Florida has thrown its backing behind Republican state Rep. Mike Miller‘s bid for Congress in Florida’s 7th Congressional District and Democratic state Rep. Darren Soto‘s bid for re-election in Florida’s 9th Congressional District.

The endorsement of Miller is a sting to his Aug. 28 Republican primary opponent Scott Sturgill, who is himself professionally in the manufacturing sector represented by AIF.

Miller is aiming to oust Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy in CD 7, which covers Seminole County and much of north and central Orange County. He first must get past Sturgill in what has been a bruising primary battle. Also in the primaries are Republican Vennia Francois and Democrat Chardo Richardson.

Soto’s endorsement makes him one of only two Democrats the group endorsed for Congress. It may in part reflect the strength of AIF’s preference of him over his Aug. 28 Democratic rival, the much more liberal former U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, with the recongition that the Republican in the district, Wayne Liebnitzky, would be a longshot against either of them come November. AIF also endorsed U.S. Rep. Al Lawson in Florida’s 5rd Congressional Distict; Lawson also has a tough primary battle with former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown, which likley will decide this year’s ultimate winner in that north Florida district.

Soto hopes to hold onto CD 9, which covers much of south Orange County, Osceola County, and east Polk County.

The group did not endorse in Florida’s 10th Congressional District, where Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings is seeking re-election.

“Today, the AIF Board of Directors is proud to release our endorsements for those candidates here in Florida that we believe will best serve Florida businesses and families in the U.S. House of Representatives,” AIF President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Feeney, a former congressman himself who represented a district that covered parts of what are now CD 7 and CD 9. “We believe these individuals are the most qualified candidates in their respective races to take our pro-growth, pro-job and free-enterprise message to Washington to continue to make Florida a top state in the nation to live, work and raise a family.”

The group also endorsed the re-election bids of Republican U.S. Reps. Bill Posey in Florida’s 8th Congressional District and Daniel Webster of Florida’s 11th Congressional District, and the election bid of Republican former state Rep. Fred Costello in Florida’s 6th Congressional District, which all are have parts reaching into Central Florida.

“We strongly encourage our fellow Floridians to vote to send these candidates to Washington to fight for Florida,” Feeney stated. “Our businesses and families can count on these individuals to foster a business-friendly environment our future generations can rely on.”

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