The Pinellas Realtor Organization is throwing its weight behind St. Pete City Council candidate Will Newton.
“The member-only candidate screening committee reviewed questionnaires and interviewed candidates. There are thoughtful, qualified candidates running, but one stood out for his overall commitment to community, understanding of economic issues, and advocacy for property rights,” the group wrote in a statement.
PRO represents more than 6,500 members including Realtors and others in the industry. The group is one of Tampa Bay’s largest professional trade associations. Part of the group’s mission statement is to promote the real estate profession through political advocacy.
Newton faces four other candidates in his District 7 bid, the most formidable of which is Lisa Wheeler-Brown. The two are in a heated battle of endorsements. Wheeler-Brown is backed by both of the Tampa Bay area’s largest newspapers and two City Council members – Karl Nurse and Darden Rice.
However, Newton has been raking in his own impressive list of endorsements from the Police Benevolent Association, fire fighters groups, council member Steve Kornell and now PRO.
Wheeler-Brown has so far out-funded Newton, but has spent nearly all of her campaign funds, while Newton has had a recent surge in financing and has most of it still in the bank.
Also on the ballot are Aaron Sharpe, Sheila Scott-Griffin and Lewis Stephens. Sharpe was endorsed by City Council Chair Charlie Gerdes.
The winner in this race will replace Wengay Newton, who is term- limited out of office this year. They would represent residents in some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods, including Midtown and Child’s Park.
The primary election is August 25. Only voters in District 7 will vote in that election. The top two finishers will square off against each other in November in the citywide general election.