Equality Florida Action PAC, the state’s largest LGBTQ political action committee, announced its support Monday for St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Darden Rice.
The organization credited its endorsement to Rice’s work on St. Pete’s City Council, recognizing her support for LGBTQ rights, abortion rights and gun safety reforms.
“Council member Rice has been a progressive champion on the issues that matter most to the people of St. Petersburg since she was elected to her first term in 2013,” Joe Saunders, senior political director of Equality Florida, said in a news release. “We’re very excited about Darden becoming the first LGBTQ Mayor of St. Pete, but what’s even more exciting is her vision for and plan to create a more equitable city for everyone.”
If elected, Rice would become the first openly-LGBTQ person to lead St. Pete, and the second LGBTQ woman leading a major city in the Southern US. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor is the other.
“Equality Florida has been a lifesaver for the LGBTQ community in our state,” Rice said in a news release. “This organization has been on the front lines protecting people’s rights and standing up for the most vulnerable among us for years. I can have the family I have today in part because of their advocacy work. That’s why this endorsement means so much to me.”
Rice also received an endorsement from Ruth’s List Florida, which works to elect Democratic women to office, and Roadmap for Progress.
Rice officially entered the race for Mayor in January. She faces former City Council colleague and former Rep. Wengay Newton, as well as former Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch.
Realtor Vincent Nowicki, St. Pete College student Michael Ingram and business owner Marcile Powers are also in the race.
The candidates are running to succeed current Mayor Rick Kriseman who is leaving office due to term limits. The municipal Primary Election is Aug. 24. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the top two vote-getters will advance to the General Election Nov. 2.