Michele Rayner quits CD 13 race for another race at State House

State Representative Michele Rayner will not seek the Democratic nomination in the race to represent Florida’s 13th congressional district. She will instead run for re-election to the State House, albeit in a newly drawn district.

Rayner said his decision was largely based on Florida controversial new maps from Congress.

In an unprecedented move, the Governor drew his own map for the 10-year redistribution process, circumventing a duty usually left to the Legislature. Democrats and Florida Fair Districts amendment advocates say approved maps violate Florida Laws by reducing minority representation and manipulating borders to concentrate Democrats in fewer districts, giving Republicans more representation. Lawsuits have been filed challenging the card on these grounds.

Rayner said the decision wasn’t easy, but she saw “the writing on the wall.”

“We have these cards that are partisan, racist and gerrymandered. I believe they are illegal,” she said. “It’s really going to Ron DeSantis be a cowboy in the wild Wild West. It is impossible to have free and fair elections when you rig cards in elections in favor of a party and a group of people.

Florida districts are meant to be tightly matched, compact, and as contiguous as possible. Rayner said the DeSantis map violates those rules by splitting the new CD 13. The new district expands further north into traditionally red parts of Pinellas County and eliminates parts of St. Petersburg, the district’s largest city. currently drawn and a Democratic stronghold.

One of Rayner’s main opponents and fellow Florida House state representative. Ben Diamondleft the race Last week after the St. Pete resident, and the entire district he currently represents in the State House, were pulled from the new CD 13.

In March, Matt Isbel, founder of MCI Maps and a Democratic political consultant, said DeSantis’ map is a “walking trial” and that “Florida will end up in court.” His vision has become reality. A North Florida judge appointed by DeSantis has already parts of the map deemed unconstitutionalalthough this decision is waiting. Despite pass the cardmembers of the Governor’s own party, including the Speaker of the House Chris Sprowscriticized the card before finally signing.

“It’s very sad that because of this racist and partisan gerrymander, you are pushing aside candidates who have served their community for a long time and don’t have the opportunity to do so on another level,” Rayner said.

“I ran for Congress because I know what time we are in and I want to continue my public service. And I also understand the time we are here in this state. Every decision to run for Congress or return to the House was not taken lightly. The political part is not really my thing. The service part is.

Rayner argued that Republicans in the Legislative Assembly and the governor are “out of control” and have waged war against marginalized communities in the state. Rayner, who is the first openly black queer woman elected to the Legislature, said there are fights the federal government has been unwilling or unable to take on that she can take on in the State House.

She argued that leadership sacrifices the needs of ordinary Floridians in favor of victories in manufactured culture wars, like the governor’s. battle against disney and his attempts to regulate the teaching of American history in classrooms. At an abortion rally in Dunedin last Monday, Rayner said the governor’s behavior was that of a “monster” and a “tyrant”.

Rayner said she plans to continue to focus on expanding liberties and liberties and addressing pressing issues facing the state, such as access to affordable housing and tackling food deserts. She once introduced a bill to make it easier to build affordable housing and said a lot of her strength came from her ability to walk across the aisle.

“You can be efficient but have principles. For me, I’m always looking to be principled, but also where we can find common ground,” Rayner said.

“There are people in this process who choose to be partisan and choose to toe the party line. Fine. But there are other people, especially Republicans, who have come here to do the job. And I came here to do the job, which is why I think I was effective in my two years in Tallahassee.

Rayner represents the vast House District 70, which covers parts of Hillsborough, Pinellas and Manatee counties. With the new cards, she will show up in District 62 of the house, confronting her with the former Democratic representative. Wengai Newton at primary.

Newton held the HD 70 seat ahead of Rayner. He unsuccessfully ran for mayor of St. Pete in 2020. But Rayner brings a big war chest from his run for Congress. Newton’s campaign raised just under $28,000, while Rayner’s has more than $220,000 in cash.

Amina Spahic of MB Strategies worked in communications for Rayner’s congressional campaign. She argued that Rayner’s voice as a queer black woman is one that Florida cannot afford to lose as Republicans increasingly take away freedoms from the LGBTQ community. In 2021, Republicans passed a bill limiting transgender participation in sports. One of the most controversial bills this year, HB 1557was dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by critics who said so erases LGBTQ representation and identity from Florida schools.

“For Michele, being the first queer black woman to be elected in Florida, on a larger scale and in the narrative and attacks that have happened to LGBTQ people, her voice is something we cannot afford to lose in this moment,” Spahić said. . “So she’s not trying to be somebody, but the fact is she’s somebody.”

Rayner and Diamond coming out of the CD 13 race leave the old one barack obama aid Eric Lynn and his nearly million-dollar war chest as the district’s only Democrat.

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Jack L. Goldstein