Associated Industries of Florida endorses three candidates for state Senate

by | Jun 20, 2023



  • The Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) has endorsed three Republican state Senate candidates for the 2024 election cycle.
  • AIF endorsed Rep. Tom Leek for Senate District 7, highlighting his work in the Florida House and support for policies that strengthen the economy and business climate.
  • Rep. Stan McClain was endorsed for Senate District 9, with AIF emphasizing his understanding of the needs of the business community and his advocacy for limited government, lower taxes, and economic freedom.
  • AIF also endorsed Rep. Keith Truenow, who is looking to switch chambers to succeed Sen. Dennis Baxley. 

The Associated Industries of Florida (AIF), one of the state’s leading business advocacy groups, announced a trio of endorsements on Tuesday for Republican state Senate candidates in the 2024 election cycle.

The group endorsed Rep. Tom Leek, the thrice-reelected lawmaker who looks to succeed term-limited Sen. Travis Hutson in Senate District 7. In his current role, Leek chairs the House Appropriations Committee and House Joint Legislative Budget Commission.

“While serving in the Florida House, Tom Leek has consistently worked to ensure that our state remains on the path to prosperity by thoughtfully investing in Florida’s future and supporting policies that further strengthen our economy and improve our business climate,” said AIF President and CEO Brewster Bevis. “AIF has no doubt that Representative Leek would continue to be an important advocate for the business community in the Florida Senate, and that’s why we are proud to endorse his campaign.”

In the run-up to his 2022 reelection, Leek also received the endorsement of Gov. Ron DeSantis, who referred to the representative as a “fighter” for his county, and claimed that he would stand to “protect your freedoms.” Leek notably sponsored a variety of DeSantis-friendly bills including the Parental Rights in Education legislation.

In the Senate District 9 race, AIF endorsed Rep. Stan McClain, who has served in the Florida House of Representatives since 2016. McClain is currently running unopposed to assume the seat of Sen. Keith Perry. McClain, who represents portions of Volusia County, faces a term limit in 2024.

In the buildup to his 2024 campaign, McClain has stated that he intends to be a strong advocate for “limited government, lower taxes, and economic freedom.”

“As a business owner himself, Stan McClain has a firsthand understanding of the needs of Florida’s business community and how policies can directly impact Florida’s job creators,” said Bevis. “He shares our principles of economic prosperity and free enterprise and has been a strong supporter of the business community throughout his time in the Florida House. For these reasons, AIF is proud to endorse Representative McClain and looks forward to continuing to work with him in the Florida Senate.”

McClain also received an endorsement from House Speaker Pro Tempore Rep. Chuck Clemons in February, shortly after he officially announced his candidacy. Currently, McClain serves on the Ways & Means Committee as Chairman, the Education & Employment Committee, the Choice & Innovation Subcommittee, the Rules Committee, and the Local Administration, Federal Affairs & Special Districts Subcommittee.

In the Florida Senate District 13 race, AIF endorsed Rep. Keith Truenow, who much like the other two endorsed lawmakers, is making a bid to flip legislative chambers. Truenow, an Air Force veteran, has served in the Florida House since 2020 and was been reelected once, now acting as Chairman of the Criminal Justice Subcommittee.

“Keith Truenow’s experience as a farmer, rancher, and entrepreneur gives him unique insight into the challenges facing both the business and agriculture communities in Florida and how the state can best help each thrive,” said Bevis. “AIF believes he has added an important perspective to policy discussions during his time in the Florida House, and that he would continue to do so with the opportunity to serve in the Florida Senate. Representative Truenow has earned our full support and endorsement.”

AIF stated that additional endorsements for the 2024 election cycle are expected to be released in the future.

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