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Lisa Montelione backs Luis Viera in runoff for Tampa City Council

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Lisa Montelione, who represented District 7 for the past five and-a-half years before stepping down two weeks ago to run for a state legislative seat, is backing Luis Viera in the runoff election to succeed her.

“Luis is an outspoken advocate for Tampa’s families and has a dedicated record of working for this community,” Montelione said in a statement issued by the Viera campaign. “Luis Viera’s involvement in our community through work with the City of Tampa’s Civil Service Board, Tampa Hispanic Bar Association, and his tireless service with the Lawyers Autism Awareness Foundation make him the best candidate to represent all of the neighborhoods in District 7. New Tampa, North Tampa, and all of District 7 deserve the kind of leadership and vision that Luis Viera will bring to City Council.”

Viera finished second behind Jim Davison in the District 7 election last week, but no candidate in the six-person field received the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff. On Monday Cyril Spiro, who finished fifth in the race, endorsed Davison.

Although the race is nonpartisan, you can bet it will become more so by the time of the Dec. 6 election. Davison is a Republican, and Viera a Democrat who had previously been endorsed by Congresswoman Kathy Castor and City Council Chairman Mike Suarez.

“I’m honored to announce that my campaign has been endorsed by former Tampa City Councilwoman Lisa Montelione,” Viera said in a statement. “Councilwoman Montelione joins a growing list of elected officials and community leaders supporting our campaign, including: Congresswoman Kathy Castor, City Councilman Mike Suarez, the Tampa Bay Builders Association, and both Tampa and Hillsborough firefighters.”

Montelione announced a year ago she would run for the House District 63 seat, and was allowed to sit on the board until last month. She ended up losing a close race to Republican incumbent Shawn Harrison, 51 percent to 49 percent.

With the exception of Spiro, no other candidate who lost last week has announced who they will support in next month’s contest.

Davison received 31 percent of the vote last week. Viera was second with 22 percent.

Viera has consistently led the field in fundraising, and has now raised $79,459. That includes a $1,000 contribution last week from lobbyist Louis Betz.  

Conversely, Davison has received the least amount of contributions of the six candidates running, which obviously didn’t hurt him last week. He’s raised at this date a total of $13,395.

Davison tweeted this morning that he has invited Viera to debate him on Tuesday, Nov. 29, a week before the run-off election.

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 mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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