Local Pinellas County leaders endorse Michele Rayner for CD 13

Michele Rayner Headshot
Florida’s CD 13 race will be one of the most closely watched in the 2022 midterms.

State Rep. Michele Rayner has secured endorsements from a slew of Pinellas County elected officials, including St. Petersburg City Council members Deborah Figgs-Sanders and Lisa Wheeler-Bowman, as Rayner pursues a Congressional seat.

The St. Pete City Council members join Largo City Commissioner Michael Smith and Gulfport City Commissioner Paul Ray in backing Rayner’s run for the seat in Florida’s 13th Congressional District.

“In a time when justice for all should be a collaborative effort of all our lawmakers; we have seen, with proven evidence, the inequities and that there is still a struggle with the injustices of our nation and our state. This is the moment where we must put action to words as a collective and I trust Rep. Rayner to continue her dedication to boldly address these disparities,” Figgs-Sanders said in a statement.

“Rep. Rayner is not only a historic and outstanding candidate, but she is a proven leader who has worked across the aisle to bring home results. Our workers, our neighborhoods, and our St. Petersburg culture has benefitted from her service. I am proud to endorse her for Congress and am eagerly awaiting her future efforts on behalf of our residents

Former state Rep. Ed Narain and former St. Petersburg City Council member Steve Kornell also announced their endorsements of Rayner.

“Rep. Michele Rayner has made food more accessible in our neighborhoods through policy and on the ground organizing,” Wheeler-Bowman said in a statement. “When families were looking for groceries during the holidays, she was behind the food drives or passing out gift-cards to those in need. When our vulnerable and historically excluded communities struggled to access COVID-19 vaccines, Rep. Michele Rayner was there using her platforms in the name of equity. She has been there for us and we will be there for her at the polls in November.”

Since launching her congressional campaign, Rayner has garnered endorsements from EMILY’s List, the Congressional Black Caucus PAC, Victory Fund, Equality PAC, Democracy for America, LPAC, Collective PAC, Elect Democratic Women PAC and National Black Justice Coalition.

“Our local leadership has served as a backbone for our vulnerable communities through the COVID-19 pandemic and its ongoing effects,” Rayner said in a statement. “I am honored to be supported by colleagues who have stepped up to serve our vibrant neighborhoods and the needs of the people of Pinellas County.”

“I ran for office to make a difference and was grateful to receive the counsel of local leaders who kept a pulse on the transformations and challenges our residents were facing. As I venture into this next chapter and look forward to continued service as the next Congresswoman for District 13, I know the importance of working in partnership with our stakeholders, current and former local elected officials, and the many constituency groups who fill the gaps, and I intend to continue being a partner in Congress to achieve our shared goals,” she continued.

Florida’s CD 13 race will be one of the most closely watched in the 2022 midterms. U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist is leaving a seat previously long held by Republicans. The race could help shift the balance of power in Washington.

Rayner faces fellow state Rep. Ben Diamond and former Barack Obama administration official Eric Lynn in the Democratic Primary for CD 13.

The winner of the Democratic Primary will face off against either Air Force veteran Anna Paulina Luna, Republican strategist Amanda Makki, nonprofit founder Audrey Henson, former prosecutor Kevin Hayslett or Christine Quinn. Makki lost the Republican Primary to Luna in 2020. Crist then beat Luna in the General Election with 53% of the vote.

Democrats have a voter registration advantage of 20,000 over Republicans in the district, but Republican presence has been growing since the GOP lost the seat to Crist.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected].


  • Help the district

    March 23, 2022 at 2:25 pm

    It would be a real shame if a sober, serious leader like Diamond who can deliver for this district in a way it sorely needs as a member of the likely minority party wouldn’t get the chance to over an identity politician

    • Help the district by walking into the ocean

      March 23, 2022 at 7:17 pm

      The name says it all. STFU right wing idiots!!!!!!!

      • Don’t tell people to kill themselves

        March 24, 2022 at 8:51 am

        You’re confused. Diamond (and Lynn) are both democrats and this district needs to be represented by a democrat who can deliver money for the district which includes some very vulnerable communities. voters will fully realize and be told in the campaign this is a politician who’s already abandoned her house district after one singular term (a term spent not delivering budget wins to the district but alienating themselves to leadership by wading into culture war to build a brand for this run) to chase a six-figure pay raise and cable news hits. The district needs better

  • Participation Trophy

    March 23, 2022 at 3:16 pm

    Can we end affirmative action already?
    Sweet Jesus what a disgrace.

    • MAGA Slime Pit Cleaner

      March 23, 2022 at 7:15 pm

      Ignorance like yours is the disgrace. Go away you MAGAt scum.

  • Pen & Paper Voting ONLY

    March 23, 2022 at 3:41 pm

    PS. Crist didn’t beat Luna in 2020. The machines/software beat Luna.

    • MAGA Slime Pit Cleaner

      March 23, 2022 at 7:16 pm

      Shut up you lying POS scumbag. No one believes that BS but foolish morons who shouldn’t be allowed the privilege of voting. Beyond disgusting.

Comments are closed.


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