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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

St. Pete Dems worry about Republican mayoral candidates



ST. PETERSBURG -- Do the Republican candidates for mayor have the St. Petersburg mayoral race in the bag?

Democrats seem to think so.

First, there was the missile from Pinellas Democrats that painted mayoral hopeful Deveron Gibbons as a "Republican puppet mayor."

Now comes a note from the St. Petersburg Democratic Club urging its members to rally behind any of the Democratic candidates.

In a newsletter sent out to members Sunday, Hal Alterman lamented club members' reluctance to speak on behalf of their favored candidate during a recent meeting.

"Defying expectations, not one Club member stepped up to provide some enthusiastic words of support for a Mayoral candidate! When asked whom he favored, Party activist Frank Lupo seemed to speak for much of the room by saying: 'I’m undecided.' " Alterman wrote.

"With Vote By Mail ballots scheduled to be sent out in only three more weeks (week of July 13), the lack of a strong commitment by St Petersburg Democratic Club members is not good news for Democratic candidates. Because in a Primary, undecided voters often stay home! Republicans such as well-financed Deveron Gibbons and Bill Foster, a former Councilman, have definable bases of support. So the Democrat finishing 3rd won’t get a bronze medal. They’ll be out of the race. And one of the two Republicans left standing will be Mayor of St. Petersburg."

To be sure, the Democratic clubs could be attacking the Republican candidates as a means to shore up support and raise cash.

But after years of Republican leadership in the form of Mayor Rick Baker, it seems more likely that Democrats are desperate to ensure that one of their own does not lose.

What say you? Do Republican front-runners Gibbons, Foster and Larry Williams have this one locked up?

Cristina Silva, Times staff writer


[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:56am]


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