The Florida Chamber of Commerce this week named its endorsements for members of the state Senate and the House of Representatives. Of the 56 named, 49 were Republicans and the vast majority were incumbents.

The endorsements came as no surprise for those who follow the Chamber’s political “grading system,” in which representatives are given marks based on “economic drivers” such as governance, infrastructure and talent. All of those endorsed by the Chamber were, according to the report cards, honor roll students. The Chamber’s endorsement of state Sen. John Thrasher, R-Jacksonville, came only a few weeks after the group named him Florida’s Most Valuable Legislator for the year 2010. Thrasher receieved a perfect score of 100 on his Chamber report card.

In a press release, Chamber Executive Vice President David Hart said the endorsements were “representative of candidates that understand the important role Florida’s businesses have in the health of the state’s economy, and understand the need to create a business climate that will help Florida transition our economy.”

Last Wednesday, the Chamber chose Republican Bill McCollum as its candidate of choice for the 2010 race for governor. The announcement was an unprecedented one for the Chamber — in its nearly 95-year history, the organization has never made a gubernatorial endorsement. In a press release, the Chamber cited McCollum’s “Real Solutions, News Jobs: A Roadmap to Florida’s Future” as “a comprehensive plan designed to create more than 500,000 new jobs in the next six years, and tackle the regulatory roadblocks impeding Florida’s business climate.”

The Associated Industries of Florida PAC also recently announced its gubernatorial endorsements — for both McCollum and his Republican primary opponent Rick Scott. In a press release announcing the joint endorsement, AIF CEO Barney Bishop III implied that the decision was a fairly easy one:

AIF endorsements are always based on the simple premise that the candidates endorsed are the ones whose philosophy, like ours, is for a strong and vibrant free-enterprise system. It has little to do with politics or a particular candidate’s likelihood of winning. Ultimately, the board chose to endorse both candidates because we believe that either one would be generally supportive of our positions.

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