Former Gov. Charlie Crist launched his bid to replace U.S. Rep. David Jolly, R-Fla., in Congress on Tuesday and he and his main Democratic primary rival unveiled major endorsements on Wednesday.
Eric Lynn, a former Obama administration Defense Department official, announced that he was being backed by St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman. The Lynn camp released a Web video with the endorsement.
“Friends and leaders like Rick Kriseman inspired me to run for office,” said Lynn. “As a lifelong Democrat, I look forward to going to Congress to fight for the people of St. Petersburg and of Pinellas County.”
“Today, I am so proud to endorse and support my good friend, Eric Lynn, for Congress," Kriseman said. “This is a man who cares about his community, who will take that passion with him to Congress.”
Lynn‘s showcasing being a “lifelong Democrat” stands in sharp contrast with Crist who was elected state education commissioner, attorney general and governor as a Republican. After being caught by Marco Rubio in the Republican U.S. Senate primary in 2010, Crist left the GOP to continue his bid with no party affiliation but he placed a distant second. In 2014, Crist was the Democratic gubernatorial nominee but lost to Gov. Rick Scott.
But Crist reeled in an endorsement of his own on Wednesday as former state CFO Alex Sink announced on Wednesday that she was backing him. Sink ran against Scott in the 2010 gubernatorial race.
“Everyone knows how dysfunctional Washington is right now, only listening to themselves and fighting meaningless partisan battles,” Sink said. “We need someone who will give a voice to the people and push out the special interests, and Charlie Crist will do that.
“Charlie has fought for Democratic values, like expanding affordable health-care coverage and restoring civil rights to nonviolent ex-felons. I know he'll make sure the voices of Pinellas County will be heard in the halls of Congress,” Sink added. “I'm proud to say I worked on the Florida Cabinet with Charlie for four years, and I know firsthand he is the right choice for the 13th District.”
Sink ran for the congressional seat last year but came up short against Jolly in last year’s special election. With the Pinellas County seat expected to be altered in the current round of redistricting, Jolly shifted his attention to running for the Senate in 2016.
Former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker and Manuel Sykes, a pastor who flirted with running for Congress before as a Democrat, are possible candidates on the Republican side.
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