Mayor's race wide open
ST. PETERSBURG- Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch and state Rep. Rick Kriseman both announced this week they would not run for mayor, leaving the race wide open for the remaining top five contenders.
The diverse group of community leaders still expected to run are: Businessman Scott Wagman, Amscot executive Deveron Gibbons, city council member Jamie Bennett and former city council members Bill Foster and Kathleen Ford. Community activist Sharon Russ and homeless advocate Paul Congemi are also in the race.
The candidates are already wrangling to get endorsements from Kriseman and Welch and many expect the field to widen before the September primary.
But there are few community leaders left whose candidacy could shake up the race. Most city council members say they won't run. Same for county commissioners and local state legislators.
"It’s going to be a very interesting election," said Kriseman. "You have three city council members that are running on their records that you can look it, you have a businessman whose family has been involved in the community but he is kind of unknown, you have another candidate who is a businessman but who has also been a lobbyist but he also has ties with the south side of the community... so it’s going to be interesting to see the positions these folks take on the issues."
-Cristina Silva, Times Staff Writer