Florida Retailers back Keith Perry for re-election

June 5, 2018

The Florida Retail Federation announced Tuesday that it would back Gainesville Republican Sen. Keith Perry’s re-election bid in Alachua County-based Senate District 8.

The retail trade association cited Perry’s job outside of the legislature — running Perry Roofing — in its endorsement of the freshman Senator.

“Keith is a long-time retail business owner, and as a Senator, he’s been a tremendous advocate Florida retailers by helping to pass important legislation that enhances our industry,” said FRF president and CEO R. Scott Shalley. “Keith is a friend of retail and we look forward to continuing to work with him on ways to ensure Florida remains the top state for businesses.”

In addition to his background in FRF’s areas of interest, the org touted his service as the founding president of House of Hope, an organization dedicated to providing housing, job opportunities, mentorship and rehabilitation for former inmates as well as his past support for the Boy’s and Girl’s Club, the Dignity Project, and the Reichert House.

Perry was elected to the Senate in 2016, winning by about four points over attorney Rod Smith, a former state Senator and a former chair of the Florida Democratic Party. In 2018 he faces Democrats Kayser Enneking and Olysha Magruder.

Of the two, Enneking looks to be his likely opponent in the fall. Like Perry, Enneking is a lifelong Gainesvillian. She is anesthesiologist who currently works as the interim chair of the University of Florida College of Medicine’s Department of Dermatology.

Perry currently holds a six-figure advantage in cash on hand, though April saw Enneking put a dent in his lead.

He started May with about $393,000 in the bank – $286,585 for his campaign and $106,316 for his committee. Enneking, through the same date, had $271,000 on hand.

SD 8 covers all of Alachua and Putnam counties as well as the northern half of Marion County. It is one of a handful of districts that became more favorable to Democrats after the Senate map was redrawn ahead of the 2016 elections.