Baker Campaign Ad Takes Aim at Kriseman Appointee
By ANNE LINDBERG, TB Reporter
Rick Kriseman’s campaign called the ad, which was paid for by Rick Baker’s political committee Seamless Florida, as a “new low in a desperate attempt to save [Baker’s] failing campaign.”
ST. PETERSBURG – The Rick Baker campaign’s latest commercial censures Mayor Rick Kriseman for hiring Kevin King as his chief of staff, who was arrested 16 years ago while a substitute teacher with the Pinellas County School System.
According to a Feb. 2, 2001 story in the St. Petersburg Times, now the Tampa Bay Times, King was accused of sending “emails or instant internet messages to two female students,” one 14 and the other 15. The messages asked the teens “to skip school and drink beer with him.” Police also accused him of asking the 14 year old to perform a sex act. King was fired the next day. The records have been sealed.
The 30-second ad, which was paid for by Baker’s political committee, Seamless Florida, says Kriseman knew of King’s past “but hired this guy anyway as his chief of staff then put him in charge of education policy.”
A woman is then shown. She says, “I’ll never forgive Rick Kriseman for this, knowing what authorities said this man did. It’s sickening.”
King could not be reached for comment. But Kriseman’s campaign manager Jacob Smith accused Baker of sinking to a new low:
“Sadly, with only two weeks before the election, Rick Baker has sunk to a new low in a desperate attempt to save his failing campaign. On the first day of his campaign, Baker harshly called Deputy Mayor Dr. Kanika Tomalin’s Black History Month article ‘the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen.’ Recently, he was forced to pull another false commercial for lying. Now, in an example of the worst kind of negative campaigning, Baker has dug up a 17-year old story about a case that was dismissed and sealed, that had zero to do with Rick Kriseman. This ad says more about what kind of man Rick Baker is than it does about Rick Kriseman. His willingness to hurt people and families just to win an election speaks volumes. We’re confident the people of St. Pete will reject Rick Baker’s Donald Trump-style lies, attacks, and polices. Our campaign will continue talking about how we move St. Pete forward.”
Baker, a former mayor, is challenging Kriseman, who is seeking his second term. Mail ballots are being voted and early voting begins Saturday (Oct. 28). The election is Nov. 7.
For information about Baker, go to bakerstpete.com.
Rick Baker | Rick Kriseman | Kevin King | Politics | St Pete Election | Tampabay News
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