St. Pete Mayor’s Race Heads into Runoff
Mayor Rick Kriseman edged out former Mayor Rick Baker by 69 votes to lead the six-member pack of candidates in the primary.
ST. PETERSBURG – Heading into Tuesday’s primary, polls had Mayor Rick Kriseman trailing former Mayor Rick Baker by about seven percentage points.
But at the end of the evening, Kriseman had turned that on its head and ended up leading Baker by a razor-thin 69 vote lead, giving both about 48 percent of the vote. With no candidate receiving 50 percent plus one vote, the mayor’s race has another 10 weeks to go before the Nov. 7 general election.
“This election is about the direction we want to take St. Petersburg. We can move our city forward or go backwards,” Kriseman said. “I’m committed to focusing on the issues that matter to our citizens—jobs and economic development for our city, addressing the effects of climate change, and making our community a safer place to live.”
Baker told supporters that he’s ready for the fight ahead. He accused Kriseman of “devastating” St. Petersburg and repeated charges that Kriseman had lied regarding the city’s sewer problems and costs related to the Pier.
The unofficial election results showed both easily outpacing the other four candidates in the mayor’s race: Jesse Nevel was the only one of the four to poll more than 1 percent of the vote. Nevel received 944 votes, or 1.67 percent; Theresa “Momma Tee” Lassiter received 408 votes, or 0.72 percent; Anthony Cates III, 387 votes, or 0.68 percent; and Paul “The Truth Congemi, 187 votes, or 0.33 percent.
In the primary for the District 6 seat on the St. Petersburg City Council, Justin Bean came out on top with 1,442 (21.13 percent) votes. Gina Driscoll was in second place with 1,215 votes (17.81 percent), just four votes ahead of Robert Blackmon’s 1,211 votes (17.75 percent), according to unofficial results from the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections. The rest of the pack saw Maria Scruggs in fourth place with 1,079 votes (15.81 percent), Corey Givens Jr. with 678 (9.94 percent), Eritha Akile Cainion with 499 (7.31 percent), James Scott with 439 (6.43 percent) and Jim Jackson with 260 (3.81 percent). The two top votegetters will go into a runoff in the Nov. 7 general election.
About a third of St. Petersburg’s eligible voters cast a ballot in the mayor’s race – 56,501 voters out of 169,770. That percentage turnout could change in the general. In the primary, the mayor’s race was the only item on the ballot for everyone in the city outside of District 2. In the general election, voters in Districts 2, 4 and 6 will be able to also vote for a City Council member.Voters citywide will also be asked to weigh in on a charter amendment and two referendums. In addition, voters across the county will be asked to approve a renewal of the Penny for Pinellas sales tax.
To see results of Tuesday’s primary, go to votepinellas.com.
St Petersburg Election | Rick Baker | Rick Kriseman | Politics | Tampa Bay News | TB Reporter
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