State Rep. Michele Rayner-Goolsby is hosting a handful of events throughout the extended-weekend in celebration of Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King.
Rayner-Goolsby, who is running for Florida’s 13th Congressional District, will kick off the weekend Saturday at 10 a.m. for a campaign canvassing event, “Canvas for Michele for Florida.”
On Monday, Rayner-Goolsby will join the St. Petersburg MLK Day Parade, walking with her campaign team. The parade begins at 10 a.m. in Downtown St. Pete.
In an email announcing the events, Rayner-Goolsby said she has “strived to embody the determination of Dr. King throughout this campaign and her entire time in public service.” As the first Black queer woman to be elected into the Florida Legislature, Rayner-Goolsby continued, saying that “she’s experienced firsthand the need to fight for all people – no matter their skin color, background, sexual orientation or zip code.”
Rayner-Goolsby is currently one of three Democratic candidates running for CD 13. She faces fellow Rep. Ben Diamond, as well as Eric Lynn, a former staffer for President Barack Obama in the Democratic Primary this August. If she wins his party’s nomination, she’ll face one of three Republicans vying for the GOP nod, including Air Force veteran Anna Paulina Luna and former Lisa Murkowski adviser Amanda Makki, both of whom ran for the seat last year. Audrey Henson, a nonprofit founder, is also running for the GOP nod.
The CD 13 race is expected to be one of the most competitive in the state, and perhaps the nation, as candidates run to succeed U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist. Crist’s departure from the seat leaves a key opening for the GOP to reclaim a seat that, before Crist’s election in 2016, had been under Republican control for decades.
CD 13, which covers parts of middle and south Pinellas County, currently has a Democratic lean. But that could change ahead of next year’s election as state lawmakers complete the process of redrawing district boundaries.