Ben Diamond announces support for Michele Rayner in HD 62 Primary

Diamond is backing Rayner's re-election bid — an interesting endorsement after the legislator served with Newton from 2016-2020.

Outgoing Rep. Ben Diamond is announcing he’ll support fellow Rep. Michele Rayner as she approaches the Democratic Primary against former Rep. Wengay Newton.

The endorsement from Diamond comes after the pair were briefly Primary opponents in Florida’s 13th Congressional District. Both Rayner and Diamond left the race back in May, after a controversial redistricting plan turned CD 13 from purple to a light shade of red.

Now, Diamond is backing Rayner’s re-election bid — an interesting endorsement because the legislator served with Newton from 2016-2020.

“I appreciate Rep. Rayner’s friendship and tireless advocacy for her constituents in the Florida House. There is so much at stake in this election, and it has never been more important to elect champions of our shared values to serve in Tallahassee. I am supporting Michele for re-election to the Florida House and look forward to her continuing to fight for Floridians in our state Capitol,” Diamond said in a statement.

Rayner currently represents House District 70, which covers parts of Hillsborough, Pinellas and Manatee counties. With the new maps, she’ll be running in House District 62, pitting her against Newton in the Primary.

Rayner has earned endorsements from a slew of fellow Democratic legislators, including Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book. Rayner has also seen endorsements from State Attorney Andrew Warren, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch.

In shifting her campaign from Congress to state House, she brought with her a hefty war chest, giving her a strong advantage against Newton, who has struggled to compete with her fundraising. So far, Rayner has collected $195,504 between her campaign and affiliated committee, Progress for All. Newton, on the other hand, has amassed $35,940 total.

Newton held the HD 70 seat before Rayner. He ran an unsuccessful campaign for St. Pete Mayor in 2021, pitting him against Welch in the Primary. A third candidate, Jesse Philippe, is also racing for the Democratic nomination.

Rayner is a civil rights lawyer and social justice advocate who previously served as an Assistant Public Defender, legislative aide and counsel for the local NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

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].


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