Rep. Ben Diamond has raked in several endorsements from notable Pinellas County Democrats in his bid for Florida’s 13th Congressional District.
Diamond’s supporters include Pinellas County Commissioners Pat Gerard and Janet Long, who also joined Diamond for his campaign announcement.
“We have tremendous needs in Pinellas for improved infrastructure and more robust transit,” Gerard said in a statement. “Ben understands why it is important for the federal government to play a role in making these improvements for our residents and our businesses, and he will represent us well in Congress.’’
“Climate change is a huge issue in Pinellas, and Ben has supported our efforts to make our region more resilient,” Long added in a statement. “He recognizes climate change is our biggest challenge, and he will work hard in Congress to both address the causes of climate change and to better prepare our county for its impacts.”
Diamond also received endorsements from St. Pete City Council members Gina Driscoll, Amy Foster and Brandi Gabbard.
“Ben knows our city and our county better than anyone, and he has an established track record of community service and of pushing smart public policy in Tallahassee,” Driscoll said in a statement. “I’m confident he will continue to effectively advocate for affordable health care, strong environmental protections and criminal justice reform in Washington.”
“We need to be represented in Congress by someone who understands our unique challenges and will work with others to solve them,” Gabbard added. “Ben has always helped his constituents navigate state issues in Tallahassee. I know when he goes to Congress, we can count on him to help seniors, veterans and other residents to secure the benefits and protections they are entitled to receive. I trust Ben to do what’s right by every resident, because that’s what he has been doing for Floridians for years.”
Added Foster: “When the pandemic hit, Ben was always available and worked tirelessly to get St. Petersburg answers from state government. I know Ben will work for all of us in D.C. to make good public policy, but equally as important I know he will be responsive to constituent issues. We need someone fighting in D.C. for families, small businesses and local government, and I know Ben will do just that.”
Diamond also pulled an endorsement from Pinellas County School Board member Nicole Carr, who said in a statement that “as the father of young children, Ben recognizes the importance of investing in early childhood programs and preparing our kids to succeed in the classroom and in life.”
“He has been a strong advocate for education in the Legislature, and he will continue to work hard for children and families in Congress.’’
Diamond, who was slated to become House Democratic Leader from 2022 to 2024, was the second Democrat to enter the race for CD 13, a seat being vacated by incumbent Charlie Crist, who jumped into the 2022 gubernatorial contest.
Diamond faces Eric Lynn, a former national security adviser in former President Barack Obama’s administration, and fellow state Rep. Michele Rayner-Goolsby, who announced her entrance into the race Monday.
The race also includes Anna Paulina Luna as the only Republican candidate so far. The GOP firebrand — who gave Crist a run for his money last year — ran, among other things, as a pro-cop candidate who took every available opportunity to bash Crist as a socialist and anti-law enforcement.
The candidates will face off in a fairly purple district. Heading into last year’s presidential election, Republicans, through a massive voter registration effort that will continue into the 2022 midterms, chipped away at the Democratic advantage in the Pinellas County district from 5.2 percentage points to just 4.6. They could further erode Democrats’ advantage in the district through this year’s reapportionment process.