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Florida Senate endorsement blowout in Merchant-Benacquisto primary

by George Bennett | July 1st, 2009

If you’re a Republican member of the Florida Senate and you haven’t taken sides in the Sharon Merchant-Lizbeth Benacquisto District 27 GOP primary, you’re in the minority.

Former state Rep. Merchant today launched her campaign for the West Palm Beach-to-Fort Myers seat and announced that she’s been endorsed by nine members of the Senate. Two of her backers — Sens. Paula Dockery of Lakeland and Alex Villalobos of Miami — stood with Merchant as she made her announcement at her family’s equipment rental business in West Palm Beach.

Benacquisto, who entered the race last month, has endorsements from eight Senators.

So 17 of the 26 Republicans in the Florida Senate have already taken sides for a primary that’s nearly 14 months off. Merchant and Benacquisto are vying for the seat of Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, who’s running for attorney general.

Read the endorsement lineups after the jump…..

Republican Senators endorsing Sharon Merchant (9):

Lee Constantine, Nancy Detert, Paula Dockery, Rudy Garcia, Dennis Jones, Evelyn Lynn, Durell Peaden Jr., Alex Villalobos, Stephen Wise.

Republican Senators endorsing Lizbeth Benacquisto (8):

President Jeff Atwater, Michael Bennett, Majority Leader Alex Diaz de la Portilla, Don Gaetz, Andy Gardiner, Mike Haridopolos, Ken Pruitt, Garrett Richter.

Republican Senators who haven’t endorsed (9):

J.D. Alexander, Thad Altman, Carey Baker, Victor Crist, Charlie Dean, Mike Fasano, Jim King, Steve Oelrich, Ronda Storms.

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14 Responses to “Florida Senate endorsement blowout in Merchant-Benacquisto primary”

  1. Loretta Says:

    Psst, Sharon. Your family’s business is not located in District 27. I know you haven’t been out here since you lost in 2002. We’re located west of where you are.

  2. Cynical Idealist Says:

    Psst, Lizbeth…. You’re not located in District 27. I know you haven’t been out here since forever ago. We’re located west of where you are.

  3. Lee Lady Says:

    Oh, is Sharon Merchant running again? She lives an hour from District 27. From what I remember of her when she ran 7 years ago is that she ran such a vicious and negative campaign that she was labeled “The Smear Merchant.” This woman is like a bad penny that always shows up. Go away Sharon!!!

  4. Lee supporter Says:

    None of the candidates live in the district. Sharon Merchant lives 10 minutes from the district and like all the candidates will be required to live in the district upon election. She was an award-winning legislator, is a successful business-woman and has gotten to know Lee County better than any other candidate. She’s got my vote.

  5. Wellington Republican Says:

    It is almost 1 and 1/2 years until this election. Who knows if an even better well known Republican will decide to run for this seat that would have a better chance of beating whatever Democrat runs. It is a shame our party is already fighting and taking sides.

  6. Loretta Says:

    Oh c’mon Wellington Republican. Politics is all about taking sides and fighting. So long as it doesn’t get nasty it’s OK. And these political blogs aren’t viewed by a wide audiance but they do reveal certain inside info.

    And with respect to a “well known Republican” entering the race, many of us would prefer a fresh name and outlook such as Benacquisto. The most well known local Republicans are Masilotti, Newell and McCarty.

  7. Old Timer from Greenacres Says:

    Sharon Merchant a successful business woman?


    Her father had the business that provided the income for her when she was in the legislature. Same thing when she ran for other positions and lost. It was the business that gave her the income for these endeavors.

  8. Young Greenacres Grandma Says:

    It is disapointing that Merchant did not bother to travel to the district to make the announcement. I voted for her last time but if she overlooks something so simple then maybe she is out of touch. Have times changed when you would gather a group of grassroots supporters and make your announcement at a landmark IN THE DISTRICT.

  9. LU Says:

    I can’t believe this is all we have running to replace Mr Aronberg. I live in wellington (Benaquisto) and I do not want either of these two women. Both are not my idea of Conservative. There has to be someone out there who is conservative enough to run against these two.

  10. Native Floridian Says:

    Good luck Sharon. The State Senate needs another fighter who will look out for their constituents and the whole state equally and do it ethically, morally and justly. Good luck winning and then standing up against those special interests and a few of your fellow senators that have so distorted our democracy and destroyed our quality of life all for the sake of their own personal profit.

  11. Voter who Researchs Says:

    Native, your comments beg the question:

    “What has Merchant been doing to earn the support of voters in District 27 while special interests and a few of your fellow senators have so distorted our democracy and destroyed our quality of life all for the sake of their own personal profit? ”

    From what I’ve seen she’s been a paid lobbyist for those special interests against whom you wail.

    Merchant and all other candidates beware: BANAL PLATITUDES AND ENDORSEMENTS WILL NOT WIN THIS ELECTION.

  12. PT Says:

    I’m a political junkie (a Lee County dem) who today returned from a week’s vacation and have been completely and deliberately away from a computer. but now I’ve been catching up on the District 27 blogs and comments, oldest first.

    Some have been interesting, such as the observations on the importance of electronic communication this coming election cycle. And some have been amusing such as the comments by the military officers and the responses from lower ranks.

    Native Floridian, your prose is strikingly similar to that of the Marine and Army Colonel. Are you in fact them?

    And do you really think that any thinking voter would vote based on a bombastic platitude posted by an anonymous political operative?

    Ah, the fun and amusement of politics.

  13. PBC Democrat Says:

    Native Floridian, your nuanced phrase: “a few of your fellow senators..” is amusing. As a Merchant insider you specify “a few” because you don’t want to include, and therefore potentially alienate, those Republican Senators who have endorsed Merchant.

    What your comments actually suggest is that Floridian’s need to vote Democratic in this and other races. It is indeed the Republican party that is in control and has “so distorted our democracy and destroyed our quality of life all for the sake of their own personal profit.”

    Keep it coming Native.

  14. Post On Politics » Blog Archive » Post on Politics - Says:

    [...] the Republican side, Wellington Councilwoman Lizbeth Benacquisto and former state Rep. Sharon Merchant of Palm Beach [...]

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