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Will Newton nabs endorsement from former opponent Aaron Sharpe

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

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.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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