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Dan Fiorini

Wengay Newton on why he’s supporting Rick Baker — and not Rick Kriseman

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Wengay Newton’s enthusiastic endorsement of Rick Baker in St. Petersburg’s mayoral election has surprised and upset some Pinellas County Democrats, but the veteran pol isn’t losing any sleep over the issue. “It’s a non-partisan race,” the Democratic state Representative from District 70 said. “It has nothing to do with partisanship.” Although the race is non-partisan, Baker is a well-known Republican, while Newton and incumbent Rick Kriseman are prominent Democrats. Newton was one of three people who introduced Baker at his well-choreographed…

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Wengay Newton one step closer to Tallahassee, wins HD 70 primary

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Former St. Petersburg City Councilman Wengay Newton is now one step closer to serving in Tallahassee, after besting attorney CJ Czaia and businessman Dan Fiorini in Florida’s House District 70 race, which encompasses portions of Pinellas, Hillsborough, Sarasota and Manatee counties. Newton received 61 percent. Florin was second with 21 percent, and Czaia finished with 17 percent. Fiorini was the legislative aide to former Democratic state Rep. Helen Spivey, a founding member of Pinellas County LGBT rights groups St. Pete Pride…

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Frank Peterman is backing Wengay Newton in HD 70 race

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Wengay Newton has received another endorsement in his quest to win the House District 70 Democratic primary later this month. It’s former St. Pete City Councilman, state legislator Juvenile Justice Secretary Frank Peterman Jr. who is backing his campaign. Newton has received the lion’s share of endorsements in the four-county district (Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota), which also includes Dan Florini and CJ Czaia. The winner of the overwhelmingly Democratic district will face Republican Cory Fournier in November. “I endorse Wengay Newton for the Florida house of State Representatives,”…

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CJ Czaia employing “Mama T” Lassiter as political consultant in HD 70 race

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[Updated with response from Pinellas Realtors Organization.] CJ Czaia, a Manatee County-based personal injury attorney running for the Democratic nomination in House District 70, paid $1,000 last month to St. Petersburg community activist Theresa “Mama Tee” Lassiter for political consulting work. Lassiter is a well-known and somewhat controversial community activist in South St. Petersburg. “She had a one-time payment to help us consult with St. Petersburg and so forth,” Czaia said, adding that she continues to assist in advising his campaign. “I didn’t have an…

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Manuel Sykes backs C.J. Czar for House District 70

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The Reverend Manuel Sykes, who had intended to be a candidate in the House District 70 race this year but was disqualified when hefailed to sign his disclosure form, said on Sunday that he’s backing Palmetto personal injury attorney C.J. Czaia in the race. “I want to work with him,” Sykes said Sunday morning shortly after finishing his Sunday service at Bethel Community Baptist Church in St. Petersburg. “I believe that in my dialogue with him that he’s a good candidate who’s going to…

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Democratic legislative candidates talk Donald Trump, reparations and diapers in Tiger Bay Forum

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Although many polls show the presidential election could go either way, the Democratic candidates in Florida’s Senate District 19 and House District 70 at Friday’s Suncoast Tiger Bay Club meeting say they can’t fathom an America with Donald Trump leading the nation. “There are 45 million Republicans in this country, and that’s the best they can come up with?” asked an incredulous Dan Fiorini, a first-time candidate in HD 70 who served as a legislative aide to former Democratic state Rep. Helen Spivey two decades ago.…

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C.J. Czaia says he’ll make a real difference if elected in HD 70

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Florida’s 70th House District is one of the most creatively designed districts in the state legislature, encompassing parts of Sarasota, Manatee, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. With incumbent Darryl Rouson term-limited out later this year, four men are vying for the seat – Republican Cori Fournier, and Democrats Wengay Newton, Dan Florini and C.J. Czaia. Czaia, a Palmetto-based attorney, says he can make a real difference if elected, and says he’s the only person running in the race that knows the entire district that well. “I’ve worked a long time…

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