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Stonewall Democrats of Pinellas County endorse both Ben Diamond and Eric Lynn in HD 68 race

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

St. Petersburg attorney Ben Diamond announced Monday that he’s being endorsed by the Stonewall Democrats of Pinellas County in the race for the House District 68 seat in Pinellas County.

“I’m so grateful to have the support of the Stonewall Democrats,” said Diamond in a statement. “While we were all thrilled when a year ago the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, there’s still so much work to do. When I get to Tallahassee, I’ll continue to fight for the rights of our friends and neighbors in the LGBT community.”

Because the statement came from Diamond, however, he neglected to say that the Stonewall Dems also endorsed Eric Lynn, the Democrat running against Diamond in the Aug. 30 Democratic Primary. The original version of this story only mentioned that Diamond had won the party’s endorsement.

Last month, Lynn dropped his bid to succeed U.S. Rep. David Jolly, choosing instead to run for state House in the mostly Democratic district held by Dwight Dudley.

Many expect the primary between Lynn and Diamond to be contentious and expensive, given that both are prominent Democrats with real fundraising ability.

A former Obama campaign staffer and official with the Defense Department official, Lynn had been building support for his congressional before former Gov. Charlie Crist entered the race. Lynn also had about $625,000 in his congressional campaign account, which could be moved over to a political committee to back his state House effort.

As for Diamond, the grandson of former U.S. Rep. Dante Fascell, he has been a longtime supporter of several Democratic candidates, and can count on the backing of some big-time Democrats in his ambitions for HD 68.

According to FloridaPolitics.com, Diamond has already collected endorsements in his House campaign: former Florida CEO and gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink; former Sen. Bob Graham, P, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, Pinellas County Commissioners Charlie Justice and Ken Welch, and City Council members Karl Nurse, Darden Rice and Jim Kennedy.

The winner will face Republican JB Bensmihen in November.

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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