Florida Senate District 19 candidates make final push before primary
TAMPA — The Democratic candidates in a hotly contested race to replace Sen. Arthenia Joyner are making their final push to connect with voters before next week's primary.
Three former and current state representatives along with a lawyer who is self-funding his campaign will square off in another debate tonight, focusing on issues facing young children.
The forum, organized by the Children’s Movement of Florida, starts at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Robert W. Saunders Library in Tampa. All democratic candidates for Florida Senate District 19, which covers parts of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, are expected to attend.
The candidates — state Rep. Ed Narain of Tampa, state Rep. Darryl Rouson of St. Petersburg, former state representative Betty Reed of Tampa and St. Petersburg's Augie Ribeiro — have faced each other in similar forums all summer long. The typical format doesn’t usually allow for much debate or engagement, so the candidates have taken to other media, such as direct mail and television ads, to try to distinguish themselves from the other democrats in the race.
Ribeiro, who has contributed more than a half million dollars of his own money to his campaign, has spent more on campaign mailers than any other candidate in the race has spent on his or her entire campaign.
Ribeiro’s total expenditures as of Aug. 12, the last period available, total nearly $625,000. His opponents combined have spent just over half of that: Narain, $196,000; Rouson, $105,000; Reed, $24,000.
Ribeiro is the only non-black candidate in the Democratic primary running in a district that's 37 percent black. But he is Hispanic in a district that's 18 percent Hispanic and drawn to favor minority candidates.