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Upcoming: Tiger Bay Club brings gubernatorial candidate Chris King to St. Pete

Megan Holmes

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The dark horse candidate for Florida governor, Chris King, will speak in St. Petersburg Aug. 6 at an event hosted by the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club. King, 39, is a political novice running for the Democratic nomination – he is the only one in the field of five to be making his first run at an elected office – yet he is considered one of the most substantive and knowledgeable candidates in the race.

The millionaire businessman and his primary opponents are in a hotly contested race that has yet to reveal a clear favorite. King’s opponents include former U.S. Representative Gwen Graham, Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum, former Miami Beach mayor Philip Levine and  billionaire Jeff Greene, a latecomer to the race.

King’s visit to the area comes at a key time. His campaign recently opened a Tampa Bay field office in St. Petersburg, on the Deuces Live historic Main Street, and the Aug. 28 primary election will closely follow.

The Harvard-educated King is the founder of a private equity firm with a focus on affordable housing, but he’s far from what one might expect from a typical millionaire businessman. Despite a toothy, wide-open grin, conventional good looks and an Ivy League upbringing, King is full of surprises.

Thoroughly progressive in his policies, King is also deeply faithful – a rather unusual combination for a Democratic candidate. He’s shown a willingness to stand up to big business, including Big Sugar (an industry the candidate has repeated slammed over its damage to the Everglades) and the National Rifle Association. He is also a celebrated philanthropist both at home and abroad, through the public charity he founded, The Elevation Foundation.

King’s major policy initiatives focus on solving the affordable housing crisis, gun legislation and criminal justice reforms, high-paying jobs, and free community college and vocational training (a point he shares with both republican candidates). He also recently launched a health care reform plan that he’s touted throughout the state.

King’s appearance will be another in a line of diverse speakers brought by the Tiger Bay Club. In an age of increasing polarization, there are few entities that stand in the center of the political spectrum and focus on understanding issues over rhetoric. Founded in 1978, Tiger Bay Club’s purpose has long been to foster a stronger understanding of public issues and to serve as a meeting place for anyone with an interest in politics.

In 2018 alone, Tiger Bay has welcomed candidates both Republican and Democrat, authors and nonpartisan entities to talk current events. Guests have included the three Republican primary candidates for Pinellas County Commissioner of District 6, conservative author Jonah Goldberg, gubernatorial candidate Philip Levine, President and CEO of the Tampa Bay Rays Brian Auld, and a panel featuring mayors from the area’s largest cities: St. Petersburg, Tampa and Clearwater.

Details and tickets for Tiger Bay’s upcoming event are available here.

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