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Michelle Rayner To Vie For Charlie Crist's Congressional Seat

Michele Rayner speaking into a microphone wearing a mask
Florida House of Representatives
Florida House of Representatives

“If elected, I will be one of the first openly Queer Black women to serve in Congress," Rayner said.

There's another candidate vying to replace Charlie Crist in Congress as he runs for governor.

State Rep. Michele Rayner announced her candidacy Monday for Florida’s 13th Congressional District. Rayner is finishing up her first term representing House District 70, which stretches from St. Petersburg to Hillsborough County to Sarasota.

Her biography is a little different than the men who have represented Pinellas County in Washington, D.C.

“If elected, I will be one of the first openly Queer Black women to serve in Congress," Rayner said, "and I intend to continue to serve my community with the same determination, tenacity, selflessness and commitment to public service that I have employed throughout my entire life here in Florida.

“I am running for Congress because I believe that is where I can do the most good for my community: the community that raised me, the community that I love. We need representatives in Congress who understand that politics is a calling to public service, not self-service.”

Rayner criticized Gov. Ron DeSantis for signing a bill banning transgender females from women’s and girls’ high school sports. She also lamented changes in state laws that restrict when people can vote during elections.

She joins State Rep. Ben Diamond and Eric Lynn, a national security adviser, as Democrats vying for the Congressional seat held by Crist.

Republican Anna Paulina Luna, who lost to Crist during the last election, is also running for the post.

The district’s boundaries may change before the 2022 election because of the upcoming reapportionment.

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
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