The Tampa Firefighters Union has endorsed former Rep. Wengay Newton as he runs for the Democratic nomination for Florida House District 62.
“The men and women of Tampa Firefighters Local 754 proudly support and endorse (Newton’s) campaign,” local president Andrew Carter said in a letter. “We feel he will represent the interests of both the community he serves and those of our organization as well. His dedication to public safety and the Tampa Firefighters is commended and we feel he will do an excellent job if he is elected.”
Newton has also been endorsed by the St. Petersburg Firefighters Union and the Suncoast Association of Firefighters and Paramedics.
“I am honored to have the support and endorsement of the men and women of Tampa Firefighters Local #754,” Newton said in a statement.
He’s running against incumbent Michele Rayner, who succeeded Newton in the 2020 Election. Her victory was noteworthy, as the first openly gay woman of color elected to the Legislature. A third Democratic candidate, Jesse Philippe, also is in the race.
The winner of the Democratic Primary will face Republican Jeremy Brown in the November General Election. However, the Republican candidate may struggle to win in the deep-blue district, which saw 72% support for President Joe Biden in the 2020 elections, and only 27% for Donald Trump.
Newton served eight years on the St. Petersburg City Council. He did not seek re-election in 2020 in order to run for Pinellas County Commission, a race he lost in the August Primary to former Pinellas County School Board member Rene Flowers. In 2021, Newton unsuccessfully sought the St. Petersburg Mayoral seat, which was ultimately won by Ken Welch.