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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Kriseman endorses Wheeler-Brown

2

November

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. 

[Last modified: Monday, November 2, 2015 9:55am]

    

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