The Florida Chamber of Commerce is endorsing former Rep. Wengay Newton as he runs for the Democratic nomination in House District 62.
“Florida continues its growth at a rapid pace — with nearly 1,000 net new residents relocating to Florida every single day. While Florida continues its growth, we need strong leadership with bold and fresh ideas to continue championing economic freedom and a vibrant quality of life,” said Mark Wilson, CEO of the Florida Chamber.
“The Florida Chamber has put forth a strategic plan to make Florida a Top 10 global economy by 2030 and we trust that these candidates will keep us on a pathway to get there. This year, we’re proud to stand alongside these candidates for the Florida House and Senate; putting our experience behind getting them elected.”
Newton has also been endorsed by the St. Petersburg and Tampa Firefighters Unions and the Suncoast Association of Firefighters and Paramedics.
“Our business community is the backbone of our state’s economy. Providing jobs and services to the over 22 million residents and tourists that live, work and play in Florida,” Newton said in a statement.
He’s running against incumbent Democratic Rep. 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 election, and only 27% for Donald Trump.
Newton served eight years on the St. Petersburg City Council. He did not seek re-election to the House 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 to become St. Petersburg mayor, a post ultimately won by Ken Welch.