Ben Diamond won’t run for CD 13 seat, endorses Whitney Fox
Image via Whitney Fox for Congress.

Whitney Fox
This is a huge get for Fox, as Diamond's supporters now have clearance to back someone else.

Former state Rep. Ben Diamond is endorsing Whitney Fox in her bid for Florida’s 13th Congressional District, putting to bed any remaining speculation that he may still enter the race himself.

In his endorsement, Diamond offered a nod to Fox’s ability to attract bipartisan support.

“I am thrilled to endorse my friend Whitney Fox for Congress. Whitney embodies the spirit of public service and dedication that we desperately need in Washington. I know Whitney will work across the aisle to find solutions that benefit all Floridians, particularly in preparing our state for the impacts of climate change, expanding access to health care, and investing in better paying jobs and infrastructure that are vital to our economy,” Diamond said.

Fox, the former Communications Director for the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, is one of seven Democrats vying for their party’s nomination to take on incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Anna Paulina Luna in November.

While several candidates have embarked on competitive fundraising campaigns — Mark Weinkrantz has largely self-funded the more than $188,000 he’s raised so far, while progressive Sabrina Bousbar has brought in nearly $127,000 and newcomer Liz Dahan more than $119,000 — Fox has so far held the edge, with more than $420,000 raised since she entered the race.

Further, she’s outraised Luna two fundraising cycles in a row — though Luna holds an overall advantage with $1.3 million raised and more than $636,000 on hand.

The endorsement from Diamond — a prominent St. Petersburg Democrat who holds sway in the now-red district — continues Fox’s momentum. It also opens the door to Fox — and other Democrats — for any Democratic holdouts waiting to offer their support. Diamond’s endorsement signals to those hoping he would have run that they should instead back Fox.

“I am honored to receive Ben Diamond’s endorsement. Ben’s work in the Florida Legislature, especially his efforts to protect our environment, increase services for veterans, and support working families, has been an inspiration to me. Together, we will continue to fight for a brighter future for all residents of Pinellas,” she said of the former lawmaker’s support.

The endorsement comes about a month after Fox received another high-profile nod, from U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel.

In all, Fox has more than 30 endorsements to tout now, including state Rep. Lindsay Cross; former St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman; former state Sen. Janet Cruz; former state Reps. Margaret GoodAdam Hattersley, and Carlos Guillermo Smith; former congressional candidate Alan Cohn; Pinellas County Commissioner Rene Flowers; Pinellas County School Board member Caprice Edmond; St. Pete City Council members Gina DriscollDeborah Figgs-Sanders and Lisset Hanewicz; Oldsmar Vice Mayor Andrew Knapp; Oldsmar City Council member Steve Graber; Gulfport City Council members Paul Ray and April Thanos; former St. Pete Beach Mayor Al Johnson; former Seminole City Council member Jim Olliver; Largo City Commissioner Michael Smith; Dunedin City Commissioner Jeff Gow; Largo City Commissioner Jamie Robinson; and the National Women’s Political Caucus.

Other Democrats in the race include John Liccione, Tony D’Arrigo and Peter Owen. Of those three, only Liccione has raised significant funds, a little more than $46,000, of which $39,000 is self-funded.

Whoever emerges from the Democratic Primary victorious will have a big challenge ahead. Luna won CD 13 for Republicans in 2022 following redistricting, which shifted the district from a slight Democratic advantage to a GOP-leaning seat. Cook Political Report lists the district as likely Republican at R+6.

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].

One comment

  • Jeffrey Dahmer-Liccione

    April 20, 2024 at 6:05 pm

    John Liccione is a domestic abuser. He himself admits it on his campaign website.

Comments are closed.


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