Sen. Ed Hooper is endorsing St. Petersburg City Council member Ed Montanari for re-election, he announced Wednesday.
Montanari is seeking re-election to District 3, which represents voters in northeast St. Petersburg and is the city’s most active voting district.
“I’m pleased to endorse Council Member Ed Montanari for St. Petersburg City Council,” Hooper said. “Ed’s commitment to his family and community is evident in everything he does both personally and professionally. He’s an effective leader on City Council who I know will continue to get things done for his community.”
Montanari was first elected in 2015 without opposition. This year he faces two challengers, Orlando Acosta and Zach Collins.
“I’m honored to have the support of Senator Hooper,” Montanari said. “His lifetime of public service in Pinellas County has impacted our community for the better, and I look forward to continuing our work together.”
Montanari currently serves as the vice chair of the City Council and chairs the Budget, Finance and Taxation Committee and the Legislative Affairs and Intergovernmental Relations Committee. He’s the vice chair of the Public Services and Infrastructure Committee and serves on the Health, Energy, Resiliency and Sustainability Committee.
Montanari is considered the frontrunner in his election. He holds an advantage as the incumbent and is also aggressively raising funds to defeat his challengers. Montanari has raised more than $70,000. Acosta has raised less than $13,000 and Collins is not actively raising money.
The top two vote-getters in Tuesday’s primary next week will advance to the Nov. 5 general election.
Montanari has lived in St. Pete since 1976 and has been active in the community — including in leading advocacy efforts to preserve Albert Whitted Airport in downtown St. Pete.
Montanari is a Boeing 777 pilot for American Airlines.
He’s running his campaign based on collegial politics and considers himself a consensus builder on the board. Despite being the only Republican currently serving, Montanari has endorsements from almost all of his colleagues.