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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Foster endorses Kersteen in St. Pete council race




ST. PETERSBURG -- Mayor Bill Foster has made his first endorsement in the City Council races, throwing his support to former council member Bob Kersteen.

During a press conference at City Hall on Wednesday morning, Foster said he was endorsing Kersteen, 74, because he agrees with him philosophically. He, too, is a conservative who is fiscally responsible.

But maybe more importantly is the fact that they're also both Republicans.

Foster's endorsement seems to be a sign that the non-partisan city races are becoming, well, partisan.

Consider: Kersteen's opponent, Charlie Gerdes, 54, has lined up local Democrats in his corner, like state Rick Kriseman, City Council member Karl Nurse and the Stonewall Democrats. Kersteen's camp claims support from Foster, state Rep. Jim Frishe, and state Sen. Jack Latvala, all Republicans.

Does Kersteen think the race is becoming partisan?

"It shouldn't be, but it is," he said Wednesday.

He said his press conference was a reaction to Gerdes' previous endorsement announcements.

--Michael Van Sickler, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 7, 2011 11:55am]


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