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St. Pete Council District 6: Gina Driscoll wins council seat

By Waveney Ann Moore
St. Petersburg City Council District 6 candidate Gina Driscoll (center) greets voters outside of the Coliseum during Election Day on Tuesday. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]

ST. PETERSBURG ó Gina Driscoll, president of the Downtown Neighborhood Association, will succeed outgoing Council Member Karl Nurse in District 6.

Driscoll, 46, a first-time candidate backed by Nurse, defeated another political novice, 30-year-old Justin Bean.

ELECTION DAY 2017: Get the latest news and results from the Times Bay Times.

She drew 55 percent, or 30,748, of Tuesdayís vote, while Bean received about 45 percent, or 25,117 votes. That was the preliminary result of all 92 precincts, early voting and partial mail ballots.

"I am so excited. This is just an incredible journey for me and now the hard work begins," said Driscoll, a sales manager for Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown St. Petersburg.

"Iím going to be continuing to be hearing from our residents and our business owners about whatís going on in their neighborhoods and Iíll be listening to their ideas for improving our community," she said.

Nurse, who was prevented from running again because of term limits, endorsed Driscoll early in the race.

"I am pretty excited to hand the baton to somebody who wants to run in the same direction," he said Tuesday night. Nurse also said he hopes Driscoll will carry on his efforts to rejuvenate the inner city.

"I am hopeful that the work will continue," he said. "And I will go to work with non-profits building affordable housing."

Though running in an ostensibly nonpartisan race, Driscoll won endorsements from local Democrats, including Nurse and fellow Council members Charlie Gerdes, Lisa Wheeler-Bowman and Darden Rice, who won re-election Tuesday. Driscoll also supported incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, who prevailed against former Mayor Rick Baker.

Bean, a business development sales manager for his familyís online packaging company and a Republican, said he ran a positive campaign "focused on the issues and had great support from both sides of the aisle.

"Iím very proud of what we did," he said. "I focused on the issues instead of partisanship and will continue to do that at this time when we need it more than ever."

District 6 includes downtown and parts of the Old Northeast, Midtown, Historic Uptown and the Old Southeast.

Contact Waveney Ann Moore at [email protected] or (727) 892-2283. Follow @wmooretimes.