By Dara Kam
The News Service of Florida
ST. PETERSBURG — Three black politicians are pitted against a wealthy newcomer in one of this election season’s most closely watched Senate Democratic primaries.
State Reps. Darryl Rouson and Ed Narain, former House member Betty Reed, and trial lawyer Augie Ribeiro are vying to replace outgoing state Senate Minority Leader Arthenia Joyner, a Tampa Democrat leaving office because of term limits.
For nearly 30 years, voters have chosen a black senator to represent them in previous permutations of the minority-access district. This year’s contest between Democrats has opened up old wounds of racism and sparked “battle of the bridge” acrimony in the race for the newly redrawn Senate District 19, which spans Tampa Bay and includes portions of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.