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Rene Flowers snaps up first endorsement from would-be colleague

Janet Long is the first Commissioner to endorse in the 2020 race.

Pinellas County Commission candidate Rene Flowers has earned her first endorsement from a would-be colleague.

Commissioner Janet Long is endorsing Flowers for the District 7 seat currently held by Ken Welch.

Long is the first sitting commissioner to endorse a candidate in that race.

“I’ve known and worked with Rene Flowers during my tenure as a councilmember for the city of Seminole, on the Florida League of Cities Board of Directors ( where she served as President), as a member of the House of Representatives, and now as a County Commissioner,” Long said. “Whether it was supporting fluoride in the water, cleaning up our public parks, fighting for public mass transit, expanding affordable workforce housing units, or creating local business opportunities, Rene has always rolled up her sleeves to get the job done. Pinellas County will be a better place to live work and play when she is elected, that’s why I am fully endorsing Rene Flowers as the next District 7 County Commissioner.”

Since entering the race in November, Flowers has been aggressively pursuing endorsements.

Earlier in the week, Flowers added Democratic strategist Lisa Perry to her growing list of endorsers. Perry served as a consultant for former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King.

Flowers, a current Pinellas County School Board member, has also earned endorsements from St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, St. Pete City Council member Lisa Wheeler Bowman, former St. Pete City Council member Steve Kornell and Gulfport City Council member Michael Fridovich. She launched her campaign in late November with support from more than 75 local supporters.

Flowers is also far out front in fundraising in the race. She’s raised more than $12,000 as of the end of December. She faces two challengers in the Democratic primary. Former Rep. Frank Peterman Jr. has raised just $3,600. Rep. Wengay Newton just announced last week he would run, but has not officially filed for the race and can’t raise funds until he does.

One Republican has filed for the, race in the heavily Democratic district that represents south Pinellas County. Chico Cromartie, a headline-making candidate who recently ran unsuccessfully for St. Pete City Council, has raised just $1,000, which he donated to his own campaign.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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