By Jacob Engels
A few weeks ago, we reported that businessman and longtime Orange County resident Peter Vivaldi would enter the race to take on democrat firebrand Alan Grayson in Florida’s 9th congressional district. Days later (as usual) the Orlando Sentinel also reported this.
Well, now it’s official. Last week, Vivaldi held his announcement event and did indeed confirm that he has entered the race. The announcement event, held at Asociacion Borinquena De Florida Central near Valencia College was attended by over 110 people according to a consultant familiar with the campaign (and verified by yours truly), which is a good indicator that Vivaldi will have a strong team of volunteers to rely on to knock on doors, make phone calls, and turn out the vote.
Orange County Commissioner Peter Clarke, who won a close race last election cycle was in attendance to endorse Vivaldi and cited his long record of community service as a major reason for his support. Clarke, who said no one expected him to win his race, was confident that Vivaldi would lead a true grassroots campaign that would propel him to victory in the Republican primary and lay the groundwork for his showdown with the bombastic Alan Grayson in the general.
Wanda Rentas, Kissimmee City Commissioner has also endorsed Vivaldi, but was not in attendance. Aside from Pete Clarke, many local leaders in the Hispanic evangelical community were at the campaign kick-off. Vivaldi’s team also confirmed that there are several other endorsements coming from local elected officials in the near future.
Vivaldi, who currently serves on the board of Hope NOW International and several other local and national non-profit organizations, stressed his experience as a community leader and businessman.
With just over a year to go, Vivaldi will have a lot of work to do but said that he is ready to take his message to voters and make sure that their voice is heard in Washington.
“Washington is not behaving in a way that reflects the values and principles of hard working Central Floridians and Americans. We are going to change that.” said Vivaldi in a brief interview following the event.
Campaign sources confirmed that at least one former candidate who vied for the Republican nomination to take on Alan Grayson in 2012 will be announcing their endorsement of Vivaldi early this week.
Stay tuned & remember…..you heard it here first!