PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A Pinellas County lawmaker is dropping out of the race over Florida’s new congressional map.
State Representative Ben Diamond announced he is suspending his campaign to replace Charlie Crist in congress.
“These districts have been gerrymandered in a way where the fight is essentially rigged,” Diamond told News Channel 8.
Diamond said the new boundaries set by the recently approved congressional map put him outside the Pinellas County district he was running for. The new map divides Pinellas County and St. Petersburg.
St. Peter City Hall and Tropicana Field are now in a Tampa-based congressional district. Diamond said St. Petersburg residents lose by not having one clear voice in Washington, and all Pinellas voters lose by not having competitive districts.
“A good portion of our community has now been drawn into the district of Tampa,” Diamond said. “We got to be running in a fair district, and they drew me out of the district and that’s not right.”
The congressional map — approved by Governor Ron Desantis and drawn by his staff — is already in effect, meaning it’s the law of Florida unless the courts rule otherwise.
In the meantime, Diamond is endorsing incumbent U.S. Rep Kathy Castor (D-Tampa) in Congressional District 14 and Democrat Lindsay Cross to succeed him in Florida House District 60.