Kriseman endorses Wheeler-Brown
The day before Tuesday's City Council election, Mayor Rick Kriseman has endorsed Lisa Wheeler-Brown, who has been in a political dogfight with Will Newton for the District 7 seat, currently held by Newton's older brother Wengay.
Kriseman's endorsement came with a barb, attacking Newton for his campaign tactics.
"I have known Will Newton for many years and respect his service to our community," Kriseman said in a statement. "What I don't respect are the recent attacks against his opponent, Lisa Wheeler-Brown."
The mayor said Newton's negative attacks on Wheeler-Brown influenced his decision.
"It has become clear to me that Lisa is best able to elevate the discourse in City Hall," Kriseman said.
Newton's camp has attacked Wheeler-Brown for improper campaign filings, listing $500 in emergency dental work as an office rental. His supporters have also suggested that Wheeler-Brown may have illegally profited from a foundation named after her murdered son, Cabretti. The evidence presented in that attack, published in a local blog, proved to be sketchy at best.
Wheeler-Brown's campaign has mailed out two negative fliers attacking Newton. One depicts the Newton brothers as bobbleheaded naysayers. The other depicts a photoshopped Newton in a ridiculous beach outfit while quoting Tampa Bay Times stories about his frequent absences while a firefigther and an $32,000 tax dispute with the IRS.
Newton has declined to comment to the Times about the income targeted by the IRS.
Wheeler-Brown thanked the mayor for his support, citing her long relationship with him.
"He and I have worked together for years to move our city forward," she said in a statement.
Newton could not immediately be reached for comment.
Check back for more on Kriseman's endorsement.