Nick DiCeglie backs Ed Montanari for HD 60

Nick DiCeglie Campaign 2022
DiCeglie is the latest feather in Montanari's cap.

Sen. Nick DiCeglie, himself a former state Representative, is endorsing St. Petersburg City Council member Ed Montanari for House District 60.

Montanari, a Republican, is running for the St. Pete-based district in hopes of unseating Democrat Lindsay Cross.

“As a State Senator, I’ve worked with Council Member Montanari for years and witnessed firsthand the proven leadership he delivers to St. Petersburg,” DiCeglie said in a written statement. “I look forward to working as a partner with Ed in the Florida Legislature as he brings his common-sense approach to addressing important issues like water quality, inflation and the insurance crisis.”

DiCeglie formerly represented House District 66 covering some of the Gulf beaches in Pinellas County. He now represents Senate District 18 in St. Pete, which overlaps some of the district Montanari seeks.

Montanari called DiCeglie’s endorsement an honor.

“Nick has delivered meaningful legislative accomplishments every year to address issues ranging from public safety to housing affordability,” Montanari said. “He’s a tremendous advocate for our local families and our business community, and I look forward to the opportunity to keep working together.”

The St. Pete Republican is likely an ideal candidate in the battleground district where Democrats carry a slight voter registration advantage with just under 41,000 voters compared to just over 36,000 Republican voters, according to the most recent voter registration data from the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections.

Montanari is known for his calm demeanor, quiet disposition, thoughtful consideration of policy and moderate approach to governance.

To win, he’ll need to rely on historically strong Republican voter turnout, while also courting some crossover appeal from moderate Democrats, some of whom may have developed trust in Montanari through his two terms on City Council. While his talking points to date have remained far flung from the more flame-throwing rhetoric of today’s GOP — sticking instead to things like housing, crime, inflation and out-of-control insurance rates — Montanari’s list of endorsers rings partisan.

It includes some more moderate conservative voices in St. Pete and Pinellas County, such as former St. Pete Mayor Rick Baker and Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri. But it also includes Stephanie Meyer, a Pinellas County School Board member who rode to victory during a red wave election that saw Gov. Ron DeSantis back a slate of Moms for Liberty-aligned candidates in School Board races.

Still, the list is notable and growing, and also includes House Speaker-designate Daniel Perez and Rep. Linda Chaney.

Cross won’t be an easy incumbent to defeat. She won her seat in the House by 8 percentage points over GOP candidate Audrey Henson in a year where Republicans were overwhelmingly successful in Florida, leading to supermajorities in both legislative chambers. And like Montanari, Henson was a moderate Republican.

Cross has served as a likable lawmaker who, even in disagreements, has maintained good relationships with Republican colleagues.

She also has a strong résumé to run on, including work as an environmental scientist that plays well in a state particularly susceptible to the effects of climate change and sea level rise.

And while Montanari will undoubtedly catch up through a deep well of GOP donors, Cross also has a healthy head start on fundraising, with nearly $108,000 banked since the end of September. Of that, Cross maintains about $94,000. She has another approximately $27,000 on-hand in an affiliated political committee, Moving Pinellas Forward.

Montanari officially entered the race on Oct. 13 and has not yet posted any fundraising data. He’s proven himself an effective fundraiser, with more than $150,000 banked in his 2019 City Council campaign, a large sum for a local race.

The Republican Party of Florida offered significant support to Henson two years ago in hopes of flipping the seat red — it was formerly held by Democrat Ben Diamond — and is likely to continue that support with Montanari.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.

One comment

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