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Florida Democrat ruffles feathers with surprise endorsement of Gov. Ron DeSantis
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Florida Democrat ruffles feathers with surprise endorsement of Gov. Ron DeSantis

Florida Democrat Dave Kerner announced this week that he is endorsing Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).

What are the details?

Despite being a lifelong Democrat and having held political office as a Democrat, Kerner told Floridians on Tuesday that he will support DeSantis for governor over Democrat Charlie Crist this November.

"We are a state on the rise, and I give a lot of credit to our governor for the trajectory of our state," Kerner said, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

"I have never been beholden to the rigid and disingenuous confines of partisan politics," he said. "This was not a difficult choice for me. This was not the proverbial lesser of two evils. Gov. DeSantis has demonstrated himself beyond worthy of the humbling duties of his office. And he has done so with the level of dignity, purpose and respect that is lost in the public sphere today."

Kerner — who is currently a Palm Beach County commissioner and has served in the Florida House — explained Friday exactly why DeSantis won his support.

"The trajectory of our state ... his support for law enforcement, his management of the COVID-19 pandemic," Kerner said on Fox News. "There is's a host of reasons why I endorsed him."

According to Kerner, there is a lot of "shadow support" for DeSantis among those who cannot publicly support DeSantis over fears of political alienation.

What was the reaction?

Kerner's surprise endorsement apparently sent shockwaves through Democratic ranks in south Florida.

"The reaction I’m hearing from rank-and-file Democrats is this is outrageous," said Terrie Rizzo, chairwoman of the Palm Beach County Democratic Party. "I am totally and completely shocked by Dave Kerner, and incredibly disappointed — it’s not a strong enough word — that Dave Kerner could support Gov. Ron DeSantis."

Meanwhile, DeSantis welcomed Kerner's support.

"Florida is a law-and-order state because we put the safety of Floridians first and we stand up for law enforcement and reject the Left’s anti-police movement," he said in a statement.

"We are focused on protecting victims and not coddling criminals, and no one knows that better than Dave, who served Florida’s communities," the statement added. "Commissioner Kerner knows first-hand the threat of the Defund the Police movement and understands the important role that our local law enforcement officers play in keeping Florida safe."

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