By Jacob Engels
After a few months of heavy campaigning in the district, republican congressional candidate Peter Vivaldi hosted one of his first fundraising dinners last night at Delmonico’s Steakhouse off International Drive.
Vivaldi, who has already received early support from many grassroots republicans and tea party activists, was joined by early supporter and Orange County Commissioner Pete Clarke. Also in attendance were former state house opponents Marco Pena and Rene Plasencia, Windemere Mayor Gary Bruhn, Sonny Buoncervello (“The Mayor” of Celebration), and attorney Tony Suarez. West Orlando Tea Party leader Clyde Fabretti, was also seen sitting at the table of Dr. Thomas P. Trevisani, a well respected plastic surgeon from Winter Park, who organized the event.
The star of the nite was Governor Carlos Romero Barcelo, a democrat and former governor of Puerto Rico, and Mayor of San Juan, both times elected under the New Progressive Party banner. Barcelo, who spoke about bringing equality to all US citizens, particularity in the case of voting rights in his native Puerto Rico, said he had no doubt that Vivaldi was the best pick for voters in Florida’s 9th congressional district.
“I am a democrat and I know I will get lots of calls because I am supporting Peter, but all that matters is that Peter is the right man for the job, a good man, an honest man. He will fight for equality for the citizens of Puerto Rico. He understands the tax burden placed on middle class families, on small businesses, and he will change that in DC.”
Barcelo also joked that Peter being Puerto Rican gave him an excuse when his fellow democrats called him out for supporting a republican.
“How can I stand by and miss an opportunity to help elect the first Puerto Rican member of congress from Florida?” Barcelo exclaimed.
Barcelo, was not the only elected official from Puerto Rico in at the dinner either. Senator Miriam Ramirez de Ferrer was also in attendance.
The fact that Vivaldi can get activists, donors, and elected officials from progressive and conservative ideologies to work together in furthering his congressional aspirations…..is a good sign. Vivaldi and Romero appeared on several local radio and television interviews this morning & afternoon, footage of that will be uploaded when it’s available.
It’s not every day that a republican challenger to a well funded democrat in a majority Hispanic (heavily Puerto Rican) district nabs the endorsement of a Hillary Clinton fundraiser and progressive icon like Carlos Romero Barcelo. Watch out Alan, you’ve got some serious competition.
Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post. Along with the Post, he owns several other businesses and is currently enrolled at Valencia College. Jacob has lived in Avalon Park since it’s founding and enjoys playing with his black Labradoodle Jasper, listening to indie rock, and seeking out new business ventures. He can be reached at email@example.com