Wengay Newton holding fundraiser ahead of HD 70 primary showdown

Wengay Newton HD 70

Democratic state Rep. Wengay “Newt” Newton will kick off his final week on the campaign trail with a re-election fundraiser Wednesday night in St. Petersburg.

The reception, hosted by former St. Petersburg City Councilwoman Leslie Curran, is scheduled to run from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Collectors Exchange Art Gallery, 2239 Central Ave.

Those looking to attend the event can RSVP by calling 727-619-6398 or by sending an email to the campaign via [email protected].

Newton was elected to House District 70 in 2016 after serving two terms on the St. Petersburg City Council, succeeding now-Sen. Darryl Rouson. After receiving 62 percent of the vote in a three-way Democratic primary for the seat, he cruised past a Republican challenger with 76 percent of the vote on Election Day.

In his re-election battle, he is again facing two other Democrats in the primary.

Democrat Vito Sheeley filed to challenge Newton in July 2017 and Keisha Bell made it a three-way primary race when she filed her paperwork at the beginning of February. Since only Democrats qualified for the ballot, all HD 70 voters regardless of party affiliation will be able to vote in the primary election.

Newton currently leads the pack in fundraising with more than $67,000 raised and $18,790 remaining in his campaign account. Sheely, who was recently fined for sloppy financial reporting, has raised $23,708 and has $5,839 left over, while Bell has raised $12,062 and had $690 banked as of Aug. 10.

State elections law bars candidates from raising money within five days of a primary or general election, so the books will close for all three candidates at midnight on Aug. 23.

HD 70 is a Democratic stronghold covering pieces of Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas and Sarasota counties including chunks of St. Pete and Sarasota as well as the communities of Memphis, Samoset and Ruskin.

The fundraiser is below.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


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