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Ken Welch latest Democrat to embrace Charlie Crist’s congressional candidacy

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Considering he was at Charlie Crist‘s pitch two weeks ago to run for Congress, it was no surprise Wednesday when the Crist campaign said it now has Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch‘s backing.

Charlie Crist has been standing up for our values his whole life, even when it wasn’t easy,” Welch says in a prepared statement from the former governor’s campaign. “I’ve known Charlie for years – he’s a man of the people, and I know he will move us forward and get things done. We should send someone to Washington who will lead and effectively represent all of Pinellas County – that’s why I’m supporting Charlie Crist.”

At times through the four decades when the late Bill Young ruled Congressional District 13, Welch himself was considered a possible candidate for the seat. Welch always insisted he wouldn’t run against Young, because of his service for all of Pinellas County.

Since Young died two years ago, though, it’s been higher profile Democrats who’ve run: Alex Sink in 2014, and now Crist for 2016.

Welch joins Sink, Kathy Castor and St. Pete City Councilwoman Darden Rice in rallying around Crist’s candidacy.

Crist is running against former Obama Defense Department adviser Eric Lynn in the Democratic primary. No Republican has officially entered the contest, which because of redistricting is expected to heavily skew Democratic once the Florida Supreme Court gives its imprimatur to the newly configured district.

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

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