St. Pete City Council candidate Will Newton has earned endorsements from all but one of his former opponents. Pasadena Bear Creek Neighborhood Association President Aaron Sharpe has thrown his weight behind Newton for the District 7 race.
“During the Primary race for District 7 I had an opportunity to spend a good deal of time with both Lisa and Will. Both are good people I respect who I’m honored to call friends,” Sharpe said. “Over those summer months I had a front-row seat at each debate and forum we attended, I listened carefully and watched intently.”
Sharpe spent nearly a month weighing whether he’d support Lisa Wheeler-Brown or Newton for the seat he lost in the primary.
“District 7 needs Will Newton on City Council,” Sharpe said. “He has a long rich history of making a difference in the district as a community leader. Will has the knowledge of and experience with City Hall and the budget, he has the skill set, the demeanor, and the ability to understand the complexities of the issues with the thoughtfulness needed to work with the others on council to create solutions. All of this and more makes Will Newton the only logical choice to represent my neighbors and me. Will Newton has earned my endorsement, support, and most importantly my vote.”
The only defeated District 7 candidate not to make an endorsement so far is Lewis Stephens. Newton also has endorsements from half of City Council, including Newton’s brother and the incumbent he hopes to replace, Wengay Newton. Amy Foster, Steve Kornell and Bill Dudley have also endorsed Newton.
Karl Nurse and Darden Rice are backing Wheeler-Brown. Charlie Gerdes and Jim Kennedy have not endorsed a candidate.
Newton has also nabbed endorsements from police and firefighter groups and state Rep. Kathleen Peters.
Though Newton’s list of endorsements is growing he still lacks two key endorsements his opponent has nabbed. Those come from the Tampa Bay area’s two major newspapers, the Tampa Bay Times and The Tampa Tribune.
Both papers backed Wheeler-Brown largely due to her stance on the Tampa Bay Rays. Wheeler-Brown is in favor of Mayor Rick Kriseman’s Memorandum of Understanding with the baseball team to allow owners to explore alternative stadium sites within the region, but outside of St. Pete. Newton has said the deal is not ready yet.
The candidate elected to council will likely be the swing vote on the issue that is currently deadlocked among council members.