Kriseman discusses mayoral run with Obama consultant
ST. PETERSBURG -- State Rep. Rick Kriseman has approached a former campaign consultant for President-elect Barack Obama about his potential mayoral bid.
Steve Schale, Obama's state director in Florida, would provide Kriseman guidance if the former St. Petersburg City Council member decides to run for mayor. The two have been friends for four years.
"He and I have spoken about that," Kriseman said. "Were I to decide I wanted to run, Steve is just one of what I consider a talented team that I would surround myself with."
Kriseman said he also has discussed the mayoral campaign with County Commissioner Ken Welch. Both Democrats have said they are considering a mayoral bid, but neither would run if the other entered the race.
"I certainly think Ken is a very able, capable guy, very bright and would make a great mayor," said Kriseman.
But Welch is also keen on Kriseman staying in the Legislature.
"If Rick was in the race it would be something for me to seriously consider because I certainly respect the job he has done on council and the job he has done in Tallahassee," Welch said. "The downside is we need his leadership in Tallahassee more than ever."
Some candidates are getting fed up with Kriseman and Welch's will-they-or-won't-they shtick. It's likely a few are also afraid Kriseman and Welch really will enter the race. Both share wide influence.
Kriseman said there is no rush. Candidates have until July to qualify.
"The fact that (Welch) hasn't decided by now, I don't think is going to make him any less passionate as a candidate or as a mayor," he said. "I think everyone has different factors to consider."
Cristina Silva, Times Staff Writer