Rep. Anna Eskamani is endorsing St. Petersburg City Council member Darden Rice for St. Petersburg Mayor.
Eskamani, a progressive Democrat from Orlando, has been a leading voice in her caucus since her initial election in 2018. The Representative has become one of the most frequent voices heard on the House floor, usually questioning sponsors of GOP-led initiatives and making sharp critiques in closing debates.
“I am proud to endorse Darden Rice for Mayor of St. Petersburg because she has been a passionate advocate for working people her entire career,” Eskamani said in a news release. “Darden has bold ideas to make St. Pete work better for everyone, and the experience and drive to make those changes a reality. St. Pete voters can count on Darden to lead the city toward a brighter, more equitable future.”
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 U.S. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor is the other.
“Representative Eskamani is a force in Florida politics who cares deeply about Florida families,” Rice said in a news release. “Her hard work, honesty, and compassion make her an extremely effective legislator that we are lucky to have working on our behalf in Tallahassee. I am so grateful for her support in my race.”
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 Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch, as well as former City Council colleague and former Rep. Wengay Newton.
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 because of 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.