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President Obama to be neutral in Pinellas CD 13 race

in 2017/Top Headlines by

Advocates for Democratic congressional hopeful Eric Lynn have spoken wistfully about the possibility that President Obama could weigh in and back him in his race against Charlie Crist in the race for the Democratic nomination for Congress in the 13th District.

After all, Lynn is close to the president and many of his current or former staffers after having started to work under Obama while he was still a sitting U.S. senator from Illinois and before he had officially declared his candidacy for president back in early 2007.

But alas, that won’t be the case. As originally reported by the Tampa Bay Times Adam Smith, the White House is staying away from any endorsement in the Lynn/Crist contest.

However, Lynn did get a major boost today when St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman came out and backed him over Crist.

“Today, I am so proud to endorse and support my good friend, Eric Lynn, for Congress,” Kriseman said in a statement. “This is a man who cares about his community, who will take that passion with him to Congress.”

Lynn has worked hard since announcing his candidacy for the CD13 primary months ago, when for all he knew, he would be running against GOP incumbent David Jolly. However, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the CD 13 district was drawn up unconstitutionally back in July, and the new maps waiting for validation from the Florida Supreme Court will make this swing district strongly pro-Democratic in its voter registration.

Until the court ruled, Crist had shown no interest in running for the seat.

Crist’s political identity changed dramatically after he gave a physical hug to the president when Obama visited Lee County in 2009. “The hug” was used by Republicans as a reason to oppose him and rally behind Marco Rubio in his campaign for Senate in 2010. Crist ended up leaving the party and running and losing as an independent that year.

In 2012, Crist endorsed Obama at the 2010 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, and months later officially changed his registration to Democrat.

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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