Republicans come to Democrat Wengay Newton’s rescue

'I welcome any support I can get.'

Former state Rep. Wengay Newton hopes to beat state Rep. Michele Rayner in a Democratic Primary for his old seat. Now, he’s getting help from some former Republican colleagues.

Mailers arrived at households in House District 62 funded by the Florida Leadership Committee. But that’s a committee Chaired by former state Sen. Jack Latvala, a Clearwater Republican.

“Wengay Newton is the ONLY candidate who was born and raised in this district,” the flier reads, alongside a picture of Newton on the House floor.

Newton served in the House from 2016 to 2020, but chose not to seek re-election. After an unsuccessful bid for St. Petersburg Mayor, he announced he would run for his former House seat. Initially, Rayner was not running and instead pursued a seat in Congress, but a new congressional map that shifted a Pinellas seat into a Republican-leaning jurisdiction prompted a change in her plans. She announced in May she would instead seek re-election to the state House.

Newton, Rayner and Jesse Philippe face each other in a Democratic Primary on Aug. 23. The winner faces Republican Jeremy Brown in a district Democratic President Joe Biden won with 71.54% of the vote.

It’s a closed Primary, but Latvala’s committee is playing there anyway, but on the side of Newton. Notably, Newton won his second term in a Democratic Primary open to all voters, not a closed Primary.

Newton said he had not seen the mailers in question, and never spoke to Latvala or anyone with the committee. He said his campaign had not coordinated with any committees making independent expenditures in the race.

“But I welcome any support I can get,” he said.

Of note, Newton’s campaign finance reports show he also in July started to pay Golden Jaguar Consulting. He dropped $2,673 with the firm on July 1 and another $7,525 on July 15.

That’s a Largo-based consulting firm managed by state Rep. Chris Latvala, a Pinellas Republican and former Sen. Latvala’s son.

Rayner said she sees evidence of Newton’s true colors.

“It is clear that Mr. Newton is desperate to be back in elected office and will do anything to get there, as this is his third race in two years,” she said. “The record is clear that he has to rely on Republicans in order to run a campaign. This is why he has little to no support from Democrats, organizations and the lobby corps. This is why he has done and will continue to do the bidding of Republican leadership — even to the detriment of the people. He has done it time and time again. The people deserve better. They deserve someone who is who they say they are and won’t sell them out for their own gain.”

Newton for his part touts an ability to work with Republicans as a benefit. He said he had a good relationship with Latvala and other Republicans in Tallahassee. This year, he runs with support from the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Fraternal Order of Police.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Joe Corsin

    July 28, 2022 at 11:16 am

    Vote RED for neo nazi cartoon characters.
    Vote RED for crooks and grifters
    Vote RED for religious law and religious police
    Vote RED for FAT CAMMACK!!!!!

    • Impeach Biden

      July 28, 2022 at 4:47 pm

      Vote “BLUE” to defund the police.
      Vote “BLUE” to raise your taxes.
      Vote “BLUE” to teach gender identity in kindergarten.
      Vote “BLUE” if you wish Andrew Gillum was Governor.

      • JD

        July 28, 2022 at 5:02 pm

        Let’s compare these lists:

        UGLY DEBBIE W-SCHULTZ. vs neo nazi cartoon characters. (Everyone wants ugly over nazis – come on, defend Nazism, I dare you)

        defund the police. vs crooks and grifters (you don’t need overfunded police if there were not so many crooks and grifters in red politics – look at all the proven ones since Nixon, Regan, Trump vs democrats – Proven – other than slick Willie diddying with his willy)

        religious law and religious police vs teach gender identity in kindergarten (we want to teach kids to be their gender choice over religious law and police b/c there is still a fucking separation of church and state)

        FAT CAMMACK!! vs you wish Andrew Gillum was Governor. (Cammack the chicken lady is better than Gillum, but you still got a 25% out of 100%).

  • Good Grief

    July 28, 2022 at 5:48 pm

    Florida Politics needs to implement an age verification system before allowing comments on this site. Appears that elementary school children have taken over.

    • Impeach Biden

      July 28, 2022 at 5:51 pm

      Agreed.. The Corsin bot is attempting a takeover with multiple names.

  • Great comedy

    July 28, 2022 at 6:25 pm

    Rayner leaves her seat, one of the most vulnerable districts in the state, to get a 6 figure raise to become a backbench cable news rabble rouser in the minority party in Congress (after the Dems lose the House in the midterms) and because redistricting would’ve made it a competitive race instead of a slam dunk, she runs back to her old state House seat, already being run by its former holder. And then she criticizes someone else for running in different elections for other positions. Can’t make this stuff up

Comments are closed.


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