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AIF endorsements skip over most hotly contested Central Florida races

The influential business lobbying group Associated Industries of Florida has released its first batch of endorsements for the 2012 elections, and avoided taking a side in virtually every high-profile Orlando-area contest.

The group’s PAC didn’t make an endorsement in the House District 30 race between Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood, and Democratic challenger Karen Castor Dentel, a closely watched contest we profiled here.

AIF also stayed out of the Democratic primary between Rep. Geraldine Thompson and Victoria Siplin for the Senate District 12 seat in Orlando; the Senate District 14 contest in Orange and Osceola counties between Democratic Rep. Darren Soto and Republican Will McBride; and steered clear of another big-ticket contest between Rep. Dorothy Hukill, R-DeLand, and Democrat Frank Bruno for the Senate District 8 seat in Volusia and Marion counties.

The AIF press release says the political arm of the organization will release additional endorsements as it completes interviews with candidates.

“The candidates endorsed today best reflect the values and principles of Associated Industries of Florida and its members. We look forward to working with them on the issues employers believe are critical to future job growth, economic success, and the vitality of our great state,” AIF President Tom Feeney, the former Oviedo GOP congressman, said in a statement.

Here’s the list:

SENATE

District            Candidate
1                      Don Gaetz (R)
2                      Greg Evers (R)
3                      Bill Montford (D)
4                      Mike Weinstein (R)
6                      John Thrasher (R)
7                      Rob Bradley (R)
9                      Audrey Gibson (D)
11                    Alan Hays (R)
13                    Andy Gardiner (R)
15                    Kelli Stargel (R)
17                    John Legg (R)
18                    Wilton Simpson (R)
20                    Jack Latvala (R)
26                    Bill Galvano (R)
27                    Mack Bernard (D)
30                    Lizbeth Benacquisto (R)
31                    Chris Smith (D)
32                    Joe Negron (R)
35                    Gwen Margolis (D)
39                    Ron Saunders (D)

HOUSE

District            Candidate
2                      Clay Ford (R)
3                      Doug Broxson (R)
5                      Marti Coley (R)
11                    Janet Adkins (R)
12                    Lake Ray (R)
14                    Mia Jones (D)
17                    Mike Davis (R)
20                    Clovis Watson, Jr. (D)
21                    Keith Perry (R)
28                    Jason Brodeur (R)
29                    Chris Dorworth (R)
34                    Jimmie Smith (R)
35                    Robert Schenck (R)
36                    Mike Fasano (R)
37                    Richard Corcoran (R)
39                    Neil Combee (R)
40                    Seth McKeel (R)
41                    John Wood (R)
42                    Mike Horner (R)
44                    Steve Precourt (R)
50                    Tom Goodson (R)
51                    Steve Crisafulli (R)
65                    Peter Nehr (R)
66                    Larry Ahern (R)
71                    Jim Boyd (R)
72                    Ray Pilon (R)
73                    Greg Steube (R)
74                    Doug Holder (R)
77                    Dane Eagle (R)
79                    Matt Caldwell (R)
80                    Matt Hudson (R)
81                    Steve Perman (D)
83                    Gayle Harrell (R)
85                    Pat Rooney, Jr. (R)
89                    Bill Hager (R)
93                    George Moraitis (R)
100                  Joe Gibbons (D)
103                  Manny Diaz, Jr. (R)
105                  Carlos Trujillo (R)
106                  Kathleen Passidomo (R)
107                  John Patrick Julien (D)
110                  Jose Oliva (R)
111                  Eddy Gonzalez (R)
114                  Erik Fresen (R)
115                  Michael Bileca (R)
118                  Frank Artiles (R)
119                  Jeanette Nunez (R)
120                  Holly Raschein (R)

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