Frank Reddick has served with fellow Democrat Lisa Montelione on the Tampa City Council for the past five years, so you might expect him to back her in her race to win the State House District 63 race this fall.
You might expect that, but you’d be wrong.
On Monday, Reddick came out and endorsed Republican Shawn Harrison, who will face the winner of the Monteleone-Mike Reedy Democratic primary in the HD 63 race that takes place Aug. 30.
“I have known and worked alongside Shawn Harrison for 10 years. Rep. Harrison is a leader in our community,” Reddick said in a statement issued by the Harrison campaign. “When Shawn was chairman pro-tem of the Tampa City Council, he supported my efforts to make East Tampa a stronger community. As a representative in Tallahassee, he has shown the courage to stand up for what’s right for his constituents. For decades, Shawn has proven to me and the thousands of constituents he’s represented that he is willing to tackle big problems and fight for what is right and fair for our community, regardless of political party,” Reddick said.
Reddick went on to say, “When families needed access to affordable health care, Shawn Harrison stood up for them in Tallahassee, crossing party lines.” That’s a reference to Harrison’s support of a Florida Senate plan on Medicaid expansion in 2015, a proposal only three other House Republicans supported.
“Shawn is there for us when we need him, and I’m excited to endorse him and continue my work with him to move our community forward and create better opportunities for all,” Reddick added.
HD 63 is a swing district that has gone back and forth between the Republicans and Democrats since 2010, with Harrison winning that year, losing in the presidential election year of 2012, and winning the seat back in 2014 over Democrat Mark Danish. He is obviously thrilled to get an endorsement from Reddick, who served as the Tampa City Council chair over the past year.
“Councilman Reddick is a loyal and active Democrat, a friend and former colleague on the Tampa City Council, ” Harrison said. “He is a true statesman in our region. He has been a leading voice in Tampa for decades, and his work reflects the esteem in which our community holds him. Frank cares deeply about Tampa, and I am truly humbled to have his support and look forward to campaigning with him, working with him, and supporting his efforts to keep Tampa moving forward in a bipartisan way.”
When contacted later on Monday, Montelione had nothing but praise to say about her City Council colleague. “I love working with him,” she said of Reddick. “We’ve had a very good relationship. I respect him, and look forward to continue to serve my constituents in another way in Tallahassee. “
House District 63 encompasses parts of New Tampa, Pebble Creek, Lutz, Carrollwood, Lake Magdalene and the USF area.