JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – President Donald Trump endorsed Ron DeSantis in the Republican race for Florida governor first on Twitter, then in person at a boisterous rally in Tampa two weeks ago.
Adam Putnam, the other big-name GOP candidate for governor, quickly touted his endorsements, including those of outgoing Attorney General Pam Bondi, sitting Lt. Gov. Carlos López-Cantera, 45 Florida sheriffs, the Fraternal Order of Police and the Florida Chamber of Commerce.
On the Democratic side, former Jacksonville Mayor Jake Godbold just endorsed former congresswoman Gwen Graham for governor.
In a guest column for the Florida Times-Union, the two-time mayor wrote that the Democratic Party has some good gubernatorial candidates to choose from, but "Graham is the very best of the group."
Musician Jimmy Buffett has also endorsed Graham, as has her father, former Gov. and U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, along with U.S. Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York).
Earlier this month, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who rallied young people in his Democratic presidential run in 2016, endorsed Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum's bid for governor. Big-name progressives Jane Fonda, Alec Baldwin, Tom Steyer, George Soros and Norman Lear are also backing Gillum.
Former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine has received public support from a half-dozen mayors of Florida, along with Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and retired NBA star Shaquille O'Neal.
Businessman Chris King is backed by Miami state Rep. Nick Duran, a couple of Florida mayors and the American Federation of Government Employees.
News4Jax could only find one endorsement for businessman Jeff Greene -- from the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinal.
Do endorsements matter?
Trump thinks his do, and there's some evidence of it. He told the Tampa crowd that his endorsement of Brian Kemp pushed the hard-line conservative to a landslide victory in a Georgia Republican primary for governor.
Independent polls have shown momentum among GOP voters for three-term congressman DeSantis after Putnam, a former congressman and two-term member of the Florida Cabinet, had a solid lead in earlier polls.