In House 45 race, Corcoran and Starkey both trumpet police endorsements

The breathless announcements came one after another.

First, Richard Corcoran's campaign sent out an announcement that the West Central Florida Police Benevolent Association had endorsed him in his bid for the state House 45 seat.

"Front line law enforcement endorses Corcoran!" the campaign said.

A few hours later, Kathryn Starkey, one of his two opponents, announced an endorsement of her own: the Fraternal Order of Police, Pasco County Sheriff's Lodge 29.

"It means a great deal to me to have those who put their lives at risk every day to protect our citizens and way of life stand beside me in my race for State House District 45," Starkey said in her release.

The dueling endorsements from law enforcement should come as little surprise.

The PBA, which represents Pasco detention deputies, has close ties to Sheriff Bob White, who hired Corcoran as a contract lawyer last year.

White was a board member for the PBA, and their backing helped him defeat the previous sheriff, Lee Cannon.

The PBA's lobbyist in Tallahassee is Ed Collins, a former county commissioner for whom Corcoran worked as a campaign volunteer. Collins is also a top ally of White and Corcoran supporter Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey.

The PBA's political action committee has already contributed $2,000 to Corcoran's campaign.

Collins said that, as a lobbyist, he didn't get involved with the endorsement but said the group knows where he stands.

"I talked Richard up big time with those guys," said Collins.

The FOP, on the other hand, represents the sheriff's road deputies. Corcoran represents White in disciplinary and termination cases against those deputies.

Jim Diamond, director of operations for West Central PBA, said the panel that made the endorsement wanted to see the candidates' take on pensions, health stipends and public safety issues.

Corcoran, Starkey and Fabian Calvo are in a closed Republican primary for the open House 45 seat, which covers southwest Pasco and north Pinellas counties.

They have spent much of the summer announcing various endorsements from prominent individuals as well as organizations.

Starkey picked up endorsements from former Gov. Bob Martinez, former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker and the Florida Medical Association.

Corcoran has been endorsed by U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio, his former boss, as well as the Pasco County Firefighters and the Florida Right to Life.

Calvo has been endorsed by Pinellas County Clerk of Circuit Courts Ken Burke and a political group called Patriots' Ink.

Jodie Tillman can be reached at jtillman@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6247.

In House 45 race, Corcoran and Starkey both trumpet police endorsements 07/14/10 [Last modified: Thursday, August 5, 2010 11:33pm]

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