Oscar Braynon and Florida Senate Democratic Caucus support Rep. Ed Narain for District 19
The Florida Senate Democratic Caucus decided this week to back Rep. Ed Narain, Tampa, in the hotly contested race to replace Arthenia Joyner in Senate District 19, which covers parts of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.
The move is an unusual one, as the caucus normally does not get involved in primaries when there is not an incumbent. Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D.-Tampa, currently holds the seat, but has reached her term limit.
It’s a decision that was reached without a vote, said caucus leader-designate Sen. Oscar Braynon II, D-Miami Gardens. Currently, Braynon and Sen. Audrey Gibson, D.-Jacksonville, are the only two returning senators.
Everyone else is facing an opponent.
“So it’s not really a caucus right now,” Braynon said. “They selected me, I make the decisions and we go from there.”
Braynon said Narain is “the person we think best embodies the type of things we’re trying to get accomplished with the caucus right now.”
Narain, a first-term member of the Florida House of Representatives, is running against former state Rep. Betty Reed of Tampa and Rep. Darryl Rouson of St. Petersburg, who both reached their eight-year term limit in the Florida House. Augie Ribeiro, a trial attorney who is new to the area and self funding his campaign, is also in the race.
Whoever wins the Aug. 30 primary is all but certain to win the general election for the heavily Democratic seat in November.
The move to support Narain comes after the Florida Democratic Party paid for a television ad that first aired Monday and will run for a week. Narain transferred $50,000 from his political committee to the party on Aug. 5. The Party then paid Hulsen Media Services about $41,000 to run the ad.
“We work closely with the leadership of both caucuses and support their decisions,” said Florida Democratic Party Chair Allison Tant. “This election offers an opportunity for Democrats to secure strong gains in the Florida legislature and we are united in our focus on that goal.”
Despite both Reed and Rouson having more experience in the legislature, Braynon said Narain has shown a sharp skillset and understanding of policy in his two years.
“He’s shown the type of temperament that I think is the type of thing we need in the caucus,” Braynon said. “He’s shown a logical interpretation of the things his district wants.”
“Sometimes there is a bigger picture here, and this is one of those times.”