U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor has endorsed former Gov. Charlie Crist in Florida’s 13th Congressional District.
If, as expected, the Florida Supreme Court signs off on the redraw of the state’s congressional districts, the seat Crist hopes to win will encompass the South Pinellas neighborhoods now represented by Castor.
The Supreme Court ruled that Castor’s district could no longer “jump the bay” from Hillsborough to Pinellas, driving changes to the district now represented by Republican U.S. Rep. David Jolly, who is leaving the seat to run for the Senate. Experts predict the new boundaries would draw in thousands of Democratic-leaning black voters in St. Petersburg into the seat, as well as Crist’s St. Petersburg residence.
“For many years I have had the privilege of working for the people of south St. Petersburg,” said Castor, who has represented the Tampa-based 14th District since 2007. “I am devoted to them and want the best for their future.”
“While I will continue to stand up for my neighbors in south St. Pete, it appears that the St. Petersburg part of Congressional District 14 may be shifted to a different district. It’s critical that the next representative be dedicated to fighting for jobs, higher wages, affordable health care, good schools and more for south St. Petersburg.”
She continued: “Since Charlie Crist announced his plans to run for Congressional District 13, I have reflected upon the excellent working relationship that he and I had during his time as Governor. Our record of partnership on critical issues for the Tampa Bay area includes the BP oil disaster, excellent teachers and schools, implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, expanding early voting hours, supporting clean energy initiatives, improving Florida Kid Care, bringing needed federal Medicaid dollars to those most in need, and working together to bring needed infrastructure investments to the Tampa Bay area which resulted in the I-4 Selmon expressway and rail/transit initiatives.”
Castor is among the most well connected Democrats in the state. She is the daughter of former University of South Florida President Betty Castor, and the sister of former Tampa police Chief Jane Castor and former state Rep. Karen Castor Dentel.
“I am concerned that this important area in Pinellas continues to get the attention that it so greatly deserves – an advocate and fighter for the citizens and for critical investments in the area that will lift people up. I believe that Charlie’s vast experience and our ability to work together makes him the best person to continue the work I have done for my friends and neighbors in south St. Petersburg,” Castor said.
“I know first-hand how Tampa Bay benefits when its congressional representatives work together on behalf of our entire community and I have seen the results throughout my time in Congress. Our extensive history of cooperation to benefit the Tampa Bay area and state of Florida convinces me that Charlie will be a good partner in looking out for the best interests of our Tampa Bay community.
“Charlie knows the community, its people, its pastors, and its leaders and would hit the ground running. He will represent the district well and fight for the neighbors that I have come to love in south St. Petersburg. For these reasons, I endorse Charlie Crist for Congressional District 13.”
Pending approval from the Florida Supreme Court, the new maps will be enacted ahead of November 2016 elections.