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Joe Redner, Augie Ribeiro make last-minute jump into state races



Last-minute entrants are shaking up two local state Senate races.

• St. Petersburg trial lawyer Agostinho “Augie” Ribeiro said Thursday he intends to file as a candidate in the District 19 state Senate race, joining a Democratic primary field that already includes state Rep. Darryl Rouson of St. Petersburg, Rep. Ed Narain of Tampa and former Rep. Betty Reed of Tampa.

• Joe Redner, head of a local business empire including adult entertainment and craft breweries, has filed to run as an independent in Tampa’s Senate District 18 against Republican state Rep. Dana Young and Tampa lawyer Bob Buesing, a Democrat.

Ribeiro is CEO of the Ventura, Ribeiro and Smith law firm with offices in St. Petersburg and Connecticut. He hasn’t run for office before, but has been active in supporting Democratic candidates and the party.

Ribeiro’s firm is known for pro bono work including representing people injured by the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the BP oil spill and faulty ignition switches that caused crashes in GM cars. District 19 crosses the bay including minority communities in Hillsborough and southern Pinellas counties.

If he draws a significant number of Pinellas County, Ribeiro could complicate the path to victory for Rouson, who’s expecting to benefit from Narain and Reed splitting up the Hillsborough votes in the by-crossing district.

Redner, who describes himself as a libertarian and progressive, says he’ll mostly self-fund a campaign of up to $200,000. But he will accept donations on his web site, and is running partly because of a windfall from the sale of his son’s Cigar City brewery, in which he’s a shareholder. He has run for local and legislative offices several times before.

“Every time I pick up the newspaper I find an issue I think they’re doing wrong — gun laws, the environment, global warming, underfunded education, women’s rights, medical marijuana, the minimum wage,” he said. “I just thought I’d try to get involved.”

[Last modified: Thursday, June 23, 2016 5:50pm]


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