Former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker is endorsing Republican candidate James Judge as he attempts to unseat incumbent U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor in Florida’s 14th Congressional District.
Baker, also a Republican, served as Mayor of the city from 2001-2010. He is often praised for his bipartisanship.
“James Judge understands that the average American is suffering under the results of the current Democrat Party leadership — high inflation, plunging retirement savings, rampant crime in our cities, and open borders,” Baker said in a statement. “He is committed to bringing conservative leadership to Congress — his first vote will be to remove Nancy Pelosi from the Speaker’s chair.”
In the last week, Judge has also earned the endorsements of the Florida Police Benevolent Association and U.S. Sen. Rick Scott.
“I am beyond grateful for Mayor Baker’s endorsement and his support. I look forward to his wise counsel once I am elected,” Judge said in a statement.
“It is time for Tampa Bay area voters to put an end to the Castor regime’s reign, so we can refund our police, get tough on crime, and lower gas prices back to where they were when Republicans were in charge. I look forward to serving the people of my hometown and representing them in the U.S. House of Representatives.”
Judge took the Republican nomination after winning the Primary, which was preceded by high-profile court battles over who should even appear on the Republican Primary ballot.
But despite a successful Primary, Judge faces an enormous uphill climb against incumbent Castor, as she seeks her ninth term to represent the Tampa district.
Castor moves forward favored to win re-election. A new congressional map signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, while criticized for shifting multiple Democratic-leaning districts into Republican-favored jurisdictions, resulted in CD 14 becoming somewhat of a Democratic sink. Under the new CD 14 lines, which span downtown Tampa and St. Petersburg, about 58.8% of voters favored Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 Presidential Election compared to 39.72% who voted for Republican Donald Trump.