Democrat Benjamin Frank “Ben” Diamond won Tuesday night’s race for state representative of Florida House District 68 over Republican newcomer Matt Tito by taking 54 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results.
“Serving our community is a special privilege,” Diamond said.
The district covers covers downtown St. Petersburg up to Feather Sound and includes Pinellas Park. The office has a two-year term. The annual salary is $29,697.
Diamond, 42, ran for re-election after serving in the Florida House since 2016. He was named the leader of the House Democratic Caucus for the 2022-2024 term last year. Diamond is a lawyer who has served as general counsel to Florida’s Chief Financial Officer and advised the Florida Department of Financial Services. He supports resiliency efforts to prepare for climate change, criminal justice reform and increased support for early childhood education. He promised to protect public education and social services as the state faces pandemic tax losses that will require big spending cuts to balance the budget. By late October, Diamond’s campaign had raised $340,915, with another $240,600 in his political committee.
Diamond said he is looking forward to returning to Tallahassee for another term. "We’ve got enormous challenges as a state and nation, with the pandemic and economy,” he said. “My hope is, once this election is past, we can find ways to come together and work across the aisle.”
He planned to spend the rest of the evening “glued to the TV set” watching the presidential race. “We are like everybody else, sitting here watching these returns roll in,” he said.
Tito, 33, is a Marine veteran who is working on a telehealth initiative to expand access to counseling. Tito’s campaign website did not list any issues he supports and he did not respond to questions about his positions from the Tampa Bay Times. But he told Bay News 9 that he knocked on more than 15,000 doors and spoke to voters about his support for public safety. By late October, Tito’s campaign had raised $43,283.
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