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Amid Charlie Crist announcement, Charlie Gerdes confirms support for Eric Lynn

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

St. Pete City Council chair Charlie Gerdes is continuing his support for Eric Lynn despite former Gov. Charlie Crist’s announcement that he was running for the newly drawn Congressional District 13 seat currently held by David Jolly.

Gerdes said Crist asked him to attend the announcement Tuesday, but declined because he was out of town for work.

“But in all honesty, I told Eric Lynn a while ago that he had my support and I’m not going to back off that support,” Gerdes said.

But, if Crist bests Lynn in the primary, Gerdes said he’d support him in a general election against whatever Republican ends up on the ballot. Rick Baker is rumored to be the most likely to fill that slot.

Thanks to a court ruling, Congressional District 13 now looks a whole lot different. South St. Pete and parts of downtown, where Democrats are aplenty, used to be represented by Kathy Castor. And it will be until after this election.

But now those voters will be ousted from Castor’s watch and plopped in with the rest of Pinellas currently represented by Jolly. The change fundamentally shifts the political makeup of the districts from a Republican majority to a Democratic one.

The change may not mean much for South St. Pete residents who have been long-represented by Castor if a Democrat wins the seat.

Gerdes acknowledged that she’s been a great advocate for St. Pete in Washington, working side-by-side with Darden Rice to secure transportation funding. And Castor was a huge Greenlight Pinellas backer. The part of St. Pete she oversaw overwhelmingly voted in favor of the measure even though the transit referendum failed miserably in other parts of the county.

But residents in North and West St. Pete could see a drastic shift in the way they’re represented in Washington.

In any case, Gerdes acknowledged this race represents a win for Democrats who, for the first time in a very, very long time, may finally see a leader from their Party representing them on the Hill.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email

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