Mayor Rick Baker endorses City Council member Karl Nurse
ST. PETERSBURG -- My, how times have changed.
Mayor Rick Baker has endorsed City Council member Karl Nurse in his bid for re-election.
Once fierce political rivals, the two exchanged backslaps in a statement released today by Nurse's campaign.
“Karl Nurse has worked hard to advocate for the people he represents, and to advance initiatives which make our city better," Baker stated. "I am proud to call him a friend, and I endorse his re-election to City Council.”
“I thank Mayor Baker for his endorsement,” Nurse said. “The Baker Administration’s sincere attention to Midtown and its accomplishments is critical to our city’s vitality. I will work with Mayor Baker to continue the progress of achieving the goal of a ‘seamless city.’
Nurse and Baker were rivals in the 2001 mayoral race. When Nurse lost, he proceeded to criticize the administration at nearly every turn until the City Council appointed him to office last year. At the time, Baker's supporters rallied former council member David Welch to apply for the appointment against Nurse. Baker said he was not fighting Nurse's appointment, but after the vote, Baker said he would not have appointed him.
Still, Nurse quickly formed an easy working relationship with Baker and his staff.
The endorsement is also significant because Baker had previously said he would likely not endorse anyone before the general election or discuss the candidates.
Nurse has two challengers for his eastern district, which encompasses downtown and Midtown: college student Derrick Frohne and former city employee Vel Thompson.
Cristina Silva, Times staff writer