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Bob Buckhorn endorses Ben Diamond in the HD 68 race

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is weighing on a race dividing Democrats in Pinellas County, backing St. Petersburg attorney Ben Diamond in the House District 68 contest.

“Ben Diamond is an asset to Tampa Bay,” Buckhorn said in a statement released Thursday. “His commitment to fairness and his experience in Tallahassee make him the best candidate to help move our region forward. I look forward to working with him to make Tampa Bay an even better place to live and work.”

“I’m so honored to have the support such a dedicated public servant,” said Diamond. “Decisions made in Tallahassee usually don’t just impact one place – they affect all of us. I’ll be an advocate for what’s right for families and small businesses not only in Pinellas County, but throughout Tampa Bay as well.

Diamond is running against Eric Lynn in the HD Democratic primary on Aug. 30. Both candidates have been in the contest for a relatively short-time, after incumbent Dwight Dudley made a surprise announcement on April 25 that he would not run for reelection for the seat (Dudley is now running for judicial position in Pinellas County).

Diamond, who also served as a general counsel to former Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, announced just a few hours later that he would enter the contest.

Lynn, who had been running against Charlie Crist in 13th Congressional District Democratic primary but was trailing badly in the polls, announced a week later that he would drop out of that race and challenge Diamond in the primary. He had raised over $600,000 in his campaign congressional account for that contest, and told SPB earlier this week that he would move $250,000 immediately to a state political committee backing his candidacy, and would move another $250,000 later on.

The winner of the Democratic primary will face Republican JB Benshimen in November.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at [email protected]

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