Darryl Rouson endorses Charlie Justice for re-election to keep ‘taxes low and services high’
Image via Charlie Justice

Charlie Justice 2023
Rouson also touts Justice's ability to remain 'drama free' in office.

State Sen. Darryl Rouson is endorsing Pinellas County Commissioner Charlie Justice for re-election.

Rouson, like Justice, is a Democrat known for reaching across the aisle when needed to serve constituents. He praised the longtime Commissioner for a positive “record of service to the citizens of Pinellas County that has kept our taxes low and services high, adding that when “hyperbole and dishonesty are common, Charlie Justice demonstrates true leadership.”

“In the 15 years I have served with Charlie Justice, the words that come to mind to describe his leadership in office are, steady, drama free, thoughtful, and honest,” Rouson said, adding that “this is an endorsement I am proud to make.”

Justice himself is no stranger to the Legislature, having served in the House for three terms and in the Senate for one. Justice received praise for his time in Tallahassee as a champion for education, ethics, elections and veterans.

Rouson has served in the Senate since being elected in 2016, after serving in the House from 2008 until 2016. Rouson also previously served as a Commissioner on the Tax and Budget Reform Commission and as President of the St. Petersburg NAACP.

“I am grateful for the Senator’s support and friendship. I know that serving in the state legislature is challenging work. Pinellas is fortunate to have a hard working leader like Darryl Rouson representing us in Tallahassee. I am incredibly honored to have his support to continue doing the important work,” Justice said.

Justice is being challenged by Republican Vince Nowicki. Nowicki has so far outraised Justice, with nearly $55,000 raised to Justice’s nearly $33,000. However, Nowicki has been in the race longer, giving him more time to fill his coffers.

And Justice will now have to overcome a voter registration disadvantage, with about 30,000 more Republican voters in the county than Democrats. While Justice’s seat includes parts of west St. Pete and Lealman, it is elected countywide.

But Justice is raking in support, and there are nearly 166,000 no-party voters in the county who could make a difference.

Justice recently received a nod from leaders in Pinellas Park and Lealman, from Pinellas Park Mayor Sandra Bradbury, City Council members Ricky Butler, Tim Caddell and Patti Gail Reed, and retired Police Chief Michael Haworth and Lealman Fire District Commissioners Kathleen Quinn Litton and Jorge Mercado.

Other backers include five members of St. Petersburg City Council and a bipartisan list of endorsements that included former colleagues on the County Commission Susan Latvala and Karen Seel, both Republicans.

Democrats lost ground on the County Commission in the 2022 cycle, with Gerard losing her seat and Republicans claiming a 4-3 advantage. They are now looking to expand that advantage, with Republicans running against Justice and in the open race for countywide District 1, which Democrat Janet Long is vacating.

It’s widely believed that if the GOP picks up either seat, it will be next to impossible for Democrats to win back their advantage in less than 10 years. If they manage to keep both seats blue, party operatives are hopeful the pendulum will swing back in Democrats’ favor within the next two or three election cycles.

Justice narrowly held onto his seat the last time he was up for re-election, with barely more than 50% of the vote against GOP challenger Tammy Sue Vasquez.

Justice’s campaign touts his work protecting beaches and local estuaries, as well as preserving green space, investing in infrastructure, and making public safety a priority. He said there has been a 59% decline in serious crime countywide.

Justice has also secured an endorsement earlier this month from U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor. He also has support from St. Pete Mayor Ken Welch, a former colleague on the Commission and a close friend, and former St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman.

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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    May 21, 2024 at 5:30 pm

    That. Place. Has nothing to offer..it just has a road fill of cars.and playgrounds in traffic
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  • No typing skills

    May 21, 2024 at 6:00 pm

    Crime is down? I would think a bunch have sickness and pass away. But crime. Is not down
    I would think if crimes we’re down law abiding wouldn’t be blamed and arrested for someone’s doing..
    I would think they take care of the ones that were bodily hurt.

  • rbruce

    May 21, 2024 at 6:30 pm

    Impossible to keep taxes low and services high. How are these “high services” being paid for? Charlie Justice may be a good man, but he is a swamp dweller. The taxpayer has been paying his salary his whole adult life. Why not keep taxes low, Gov’t small, and services within limits of taxpayer affordability?

Comments are closed.


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