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Caldwell names South Florida lawmakers backing his ag commissioner campaign


The 2018 race for Florida agriculture commission is the talk of the town these days in Tallahassee.

OK, maybe not -- not even close -- but that doesn't mean an early campaign isn't under way behind the scenes. And so Republican Matt Caldwell, a state representative from North Fort Myers, is lining up GOP endorsements in South Florida, where he is little known (as is, frankly, the position he's seeking. Sorry, Adam Putnam).

Backing Caldwell, his campaign announced Monday, are House Speaker-Designate Jose Oliva of Miami Lakes and Reps. Bryan Avila of Hialeah, Michael Bileca of Miami, Manny Diaz of Hialeah, George Moraitis of Fort Lauderdale, Jeanette Nuñez of Miami and Carlos Trujillo of Miami.

"I have been blessed to serve with each and every one of these individuals for five-plus years and together, we have been able to shape policy, fight for limited and accountable government, and ensure prosperity for the Sunshine State," Caldwell said in a statement.

"Matt is a trusted conservative that we can count on to serve as a key decision maker on Florida's Cabinet, protect Florida's consumers, and fight to grow jobs in our agricultural sector," Oliva said in a statement.

Caldwell is one of four Republicans registered as candidates for the seat.