There are about 58,000 registered Democrats and 14,000 registered Republicans within Florida House District 70, which encompasses small portions of Manatee and Sarasota counties, and larger portions of Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.
Republican Cori Fournier, who was unopposed in the August primaries, acknowledges his campaign is “ anuphill battle, but I think it’s looking good. We are running the best possible campaign we can on this end.”
Wengay “Newt” Newton won the Democratic primary in August with 62 percent of the vote, defeating Dan Fiorini and Christopher “C.J.” Czaia. All three Democrats at the time said the primary would ultimately decide the election given the Democratic advantage. The district currently is represented by Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, who is running for a seat in the Florida Senate.
“Our ground game is still running hard,” said Newton. “I would never take anything for granted, and I’m still out knocking on doors and shaking hands. I still have 13 days to run hard, but I am feeling pretty good about it. He’s young and I think the Republicans are just letting him cut his teeth on this one and gearing him up for something else.”
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Fournier said it would be a mistake to write him off that quickly.
“I’m glad he feels like he has it in the bag because he’s playing right into our strategy,” said Fournier. “The people in this district are ready for a change. I’m someone who has come out of being low income and I know how to help others do that. The people’s doors I’m knocking on are ready for a change and they don’t feel Newt will do that.”
The people’s doors I’m knocking on are ready for a change and they don’t feel Newt will do that.
Republican candidate Cori Fournier
Newton said his priorities remain the same. They include focusing on juvenile justice issues to ensure youth with future potential aren’t overly punished to the point where their lives are ruined.
Our ground game is still running hard.
Democratic candidate Wengay Newton
Fournier said he would push for education funding, saying being ranked 39th in the nation is unacceptable. He also is campaigning on a pro-environment platform, noting, “The government has a responsibility to protect the environment. This race is less about party and I feel like a lot of issues are the same issues that cross party lines. But real people have been neglected and genuinely need help and I hope to give them that opportunity.”
Name: Wengay Newton
Professional experience: Professional photographer.
Election experience: Two terms as a St. Petersburg City Councilman, will term limit out this year.
Family: Married for 26 years. Has four children ages 36, 28, 26, 18 and six grandchildren.
Name: Cori Fournier
Professional experience: Realtor
Election experience: None