Ex-Mayor Baker endorses Rice for Pinellas sheriff
Former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker has endorsed Everett Rice as the fellow Republican tries to return as Pinellas County sheriff.
Rice served four terms before leaving in 2004 to be a Florida House member. Now Rice is a leading candidate to return in this year's election. Baker was among Rice's original supporters when Rice won the 1988 race for sheriff.
"He’s been a friend of mine for many, many years. I was part of the group that supported him ... when he ran for sheriff the first time. .. I’ve worked with him. I think he did a good job," Baker said Monday morning.
Baker adds a new big name to the public list of people supporting Rice, who faces, among others, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri. While Rice has a fund-raising lead, Gualtieri lined up a list of big name supporters, such as sheriffs in surrounding counties, St. Pete Mayor Bill Foster and state Sen. Jack Latvala. Baker's clout could help dent that. (Rice already has the endorsement of Attorney General Pam Bondi, too.)