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Civil rights attorney Michele Rayner wins Florida House seat

Rayner replaces Wengay Newton, who left his seat for an unsucessful bid on the Pinellas County Commission.
Credit: Michele Rayner, Twitter
Michele Rayner

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Michele Rayner will head to Tallahassee after winning the Democratic primary for Florida State House District 70, unofficial results show.

Because there were no Republicans on the primary ballot Tuesday, the Clearwater civil rights attorney faces no opposition to replace Democrat Wengay Newton. 

Newton left his seat in the Florida House for a spot on the Pinellas County Commission but is projected to lose to Pinellas County School Board member Rene Flowers.

Rayner is the first woman and LGBTQ person to represent the district at the state Capitol. In recent years, she represented the family of Markeis McGlockton, the man who was shot and killed in 2018 following a dispute over a parking spot at a Clearwater convenience store.

Democrats Keisha Bell, Michelle Grimsley and Mark Oliver each vied for the District 70 seat. Census data shows it is a majority-minority district with a population of about 60 percent Black and Hispanic people.

It spans parts of several counties, including Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee and Sarasota.

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