Florida Politics

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Hooper’s endorsement comes after Pinellas County Commissioner Chris Latvala offered his support last month, adding to a growing list of conservative support.

Sen. Ed Hooper is endorsing Chris Scherer in his bid for Pinellas County Commission in District 1.

Both men are Republicans. Scherer is running to replace Democrat Janet Long, who is not seeking re-election. He faces Democrat Cookie Kennedy in the General Election.

“Scherer knows that public safety is our government’s number one responsibility,” Hooper said. “If our citizens and visitors don’t feel safe, no one will want to live or vacation in Pinellas County. Scherer will be a champion for our First Responders and fight on the County Commission to secure the critical resources to help them do their jobs safely. I am proud to endorse his campaign.”

Scherer called the endorsement from Hooper, a retired firefighter, an honor.

“Senator Hooper is an exemplary public servant whose commitment to our First Responders, families, and homeowners in Pinellas County has not gone unnoticed. I look forward to working with him to secure future safety and prosperity in our communities,” Scherer said.

The GOP has been eyeing Long’s seat for years, coming within striking distance four years ago, but narrowly missing the chance to flip her seat. Long defeated Republican former Rep. Larry Ahern in that race by just 1 percentage point.

Scherer graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in finance before relocating to Pinellas County and obtaining his Class-A Contractors and Real Estate Brokerage licenses. He founded Scherer Development in 1994, a company that provides clients with development services ranging from site selection and design to construction, leasing and property management.

Scherer said he’s running “to protect and improve what makes Pinellas special,” which includes a platform of preserving the environment; lowering taxes; enacting term limits; supporting law enforcement; and securing elections.

Scherer’s father was a U.S. Naval Captain who served in Vietnam. Scherer said he is an avid volunteer, including at St. Vincent DePaul. He also served from 2010 to 2016 on the St. Pete Development Review Commission.

Hooper’s endorsement comes after Pinellas County Commissioner Chris Latvala offered his support last month, adding to a growing list of conservative support. Latvala was the third Commissioner to back Scherer, including Dave Eggers and Brian Scott, both also Republicans.

He also has support from former Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard; the Suncoast Police Benevolent Association; former Pinellas County Sheriff Jim CoatsSen. Nick DiCeglie; former Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran; Rep. Bernie Jacques; former Clearwater Interim Mayor Brian Aungst Sr.Belleair Bluffs Mayor Chris Arbutine Sr.; former Sen. Jeff Brandes; former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker; former St. Petersburg City Council member Robert Blackmon; and Pasco County Commissioner Kathryn Starkey.

Scherer has raised more than $200,000 for his race, through his official campaign and an affiliated political committee. That’s more than double what Kennedy has raised, at $95,208.