Democratic congressional candidate Randy Perkins has been running online ads that accuse Republican Brian Mast of being cozy with the sugar industry. But Bullsugar.org — a group that blames Big Sugar for contributing to water quality problems in the Treasure Coast and elsewhere — announced it is endorsing Mast in the Palm Beach-Treasure Coast congressional District 18 race.
Bullsugar has also endorsed Democrat Patrick Murphy over Republican incumbent Marco Rubio in the U.S. Senate race.
The group’s voter guide doesn’t list its reasons for endorsing Mast, but its Facebook page highlights a recent TCPalm.com letter to the editor about Perkins attending a dinner with U.S. Sugar Senior Vice President Robert Coker.
Mast drew fire in the District 18 GOP primary for attending two fundraisers in which the host committees included members of the Fanjul family, which runs sugar giant Florida Crystals. Mast returned contributions from the Fanjuls, but Perkins says he should also return the other money he raised at the events.
Bullsugar advocates buying land owned by the sugar industry to store water from Lake Okeechobee and reduce harmful discharges into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries. The group opposes the federal sugar subsidy program, which it says artificially drives up the value of the sugar land.
Said Mast: “I’m honored to have the endorsement of Bullsugar.org and I am proud to be associated with an organization that seeks to repair the damage done to our rivers. This will be a top priority for me in Congress, and I look forward to working with members of the House on both sides of the aisle to fix this issue once and for all.
“Bullsugar.org is an organization that seeks to keep our water clean for generations to come. This is vital to our way of life and our economy in Florida, and particularly in District 18.”