Dem Senator Switches Endorsement From Biden to Bloomberg, Becoming First Florida Elected Official to Do So

A Democratic Florida state senator switched his endorsement from former Vice President Joe Biden to billionaire Michael Bloomberg, becoming the first elected official to do so in the Sunshine State - and likely not the last.

Biden has led all of the other 2020 Democratic presidential candidates in Florida polls since the start of his campaign last year, falling short only to President Donald Trump himself in a pair of Mason-Dixon and New York Times/Siena surveys late last year. But as Politico's Florida Playbook reported Monday, Miami-area state Senator Jason Pizzo pulled his July endorsement of longtime frontrunner Biden in favor of Bloomberg's upstart campaign. Although dozens of Florida state Democratic officials are still publicly backing Biden, several indicated they are considering bailing on him after his poor, fourth-place Iowa caucus showing.

"Candidly, I had waited and hoped for Bloomberg, then thought he wouldn't enter — thereafter, I signed a card for Biden, with the expectation we'd (state legislators) be welcomed to provide input. Several attempts later, my enthusiasm and confidence have waned," Pizzo told Politico.

"I ran for office to curb gun violence, pass criminal justice reform, push for repairing infrastructure, and promote affordable housing, I've waited patiently to see that from Biden and others — Mike Bloomberg has a plan and a path to get there," Pizzo said in a statement to Florida Politics published Monday. "This election is more than just defeating Trump, it is the tipping point for issues which are critical to my family, my constituents and all Floridians."

A Biden press release from July revealed former U.S. senators Bob Graham and Bill Nelson atop a list of 13 Florida Democrats supporting his campaign. State Senators Lori Berman of Palm Beach and Pizzo of Miami-Dade County were also among 23 legislative members who had endorsed Biden since last May.

Pizzo, a native New Yorker, has represented Florida's 38th District since first being elected to the state senate in 2018. He may soon be joined by another defector from Biden's campaign, Miami state Representative Michael Grieco, who told Florida Playbook Monday he is still backing the former vice president but his excitement has waned.

"My concern is more with the Democratic Party imploding before we even get a nominee, but yes I currently have my reservations about the Biden campaign and moving forward and I have been increasingly open to supporting Mike Bloomberg in Florida," Grieco told Florida Playbook. On Monday, he also retweeted the Politico story quoting him.

A June Quinnipiac poll conducted in Florida saw Biden leading his next potential Democratic presidential opponent, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, by 27 percentage points. But more recent polls have shown the race is much tighter, including a January Florida Atlantic University poll which showed Sanders even leading Trump by several percentage points in a head-to-head matchup in the state.

jason pizzo joe biden endorsement
A Democratic Florida state senator, Jason Pizzo, switched his endorsement from former Vice President Joe Biden to billionaire Michael Bloomberg, becoming the first elected official to do so in the Sunshine State - and likely not the last. Screenshot: Jason Pizzo Facebook
Dem Senator Switches Endorsement From Biden to Bloomberg, Becoming First Florida Elected Official to Do So | Politics