Berny Jacques wants to work with Ed Montanari in the House

Jacques is endorsing Montanari for his track record of fiscal responsibility and government accountability.

Republican Rep. Berny Jacques is backing a change in leadership in House District 60. The Republican lawmaker is endorsing Ed Montanari for the seat as he challenges incumbent Democrat Lindsay Cross.

Montanari is currently a St. Petersburg City Council member. He can’t seek re-election due to term limits and is instead challenging Cross for her St. Pete-based House seat.

“Ed Montanari has long been a voice of fiscal responsibility and government accountability on the St. Petersburg City Council,” Jacques said of the endorsement. “He has my full endorsement for State House District 60, and I look forward to working with him in Tallahassee to keep Florida affordable and free.”

Montanari called Jacques’ endorsement an “honor.”

“Time and time again, he has proven his commitment to keeping government spending in check, supporting our law enforcement officers, and working to maintain freedom and affordability in our state. I look forward to working with him in the Florida House,” Montanari said.

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.

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.

Montanari raised more than $100,000 in the final three months of 2023, including $83,790 to his campaign account and another $20,800 to his affiliated political committee, Friends of Ed Montanari.

Throughout the course of the campaign, Montanari has raised more than $156,000.

But Cross has a jump start in the fundraising game. She raised nearly $68,000 to her campaign in the fourth quarter of 2023 and another $17,900 to her committee, Moving Pinellas Forward. Combined, she brought in about $85,000 from October through December.

Fundraising totals since after the 2022 election show Cross has raised about $210,000 — $34,700 to her committee and nearly $176,000 to her campaign.

Cross retains, between both accounts, about $156,000. Montanari’s cash on hand between both funding sources is about $115,000.

Montanari has landed several endorsements from area conservatives, including Sen. Nick DiCeglie, Rep. Linda Chaney, former St. Pete Mayor Rick Baker, and others.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].


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