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Friday, Oct 24, 2014

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PBA backs Crist, Atwater, Bondi, Putnam

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The Florida Police Benevolent Association has endorsed Democrat Charlie Crist in the Florida governor’s race, but is backing incumbent Republicans for the state’s three Cabinet seats -- Attorney General Pam Bondi, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.

The PBA is a police union with about 24,000 active law officers as members that provides legal representation as well as collective bargaining.

The endorsements were made by the organization’s governing board, which consists of representatives from each of its about 16 chapters, said Executive Director Matt Puckett.

The votes on all the endorsements were unanimous, he said.

The PBA board issued its endorsements after interviewing candidates Friday.

Puckett said Crist and Nan Rich, a former state senator challenging him for the Democratic nomination, appeared for the screenings, but Gov. Rick Scott did not. He said Scott’s campaign told the group he had a schedule conflict. Under the group’s bylaws, that made Scott ineligible for the endorsement.

Puckett wouldn’t speculate on whether Scott could have won the endorsement if he had appeared for an interview, but said, “Charlie Crist has been good to the Florida PBA – we’ve supported him since he first ran for office.”

Democratic opponents of some of the Cabinet incumbents, including attorney general candidates George Sheldon and Perry Thurston, appeared for interviews, he said.

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