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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida Gov. Rick Scott endorses St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster

Gov. Rick Scott walks with Mayor Bill Foster and state Sen. Jeff Brandes before a CareFest 2013 event at Lake Vista Park.

Mark Puente, Tampa Bay Times

Gov. Rick Scott walks with Mayor Bill Foster and state Sen. Jeff Brandes before a CareFest 2013 event at Lake Vista Park.

30

September

Mayor Bill Foster landed a reelection endorsement from Gov. Rick Scott.

Minutes after Scott arrived Saturday afternoon at Lake Vista Park for a CareFest 2013 event, he huddled with Foster and state Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, to discuss rising rates for flood insurance.

Before walking on a stage to thank CareFest volunteers, Scott said he supported Foster's campaign for a second term.

"Absolutely. Mayor Foster has done a great job," Scott said. "You look at what's happened with unemployment. It's come down. Look at all the development that's happening in St. Pete. He's done a great job."

Pressed further to say if he will campaign with Foster in the coming weeks, Scott said: "The mayor's done a great job. I'm here all the time."

Another Republican heavyweight also attended the event.

Former Mayor Rick Baker, who worked tirelessly to elect Foster in 2009, spoke briefly with Foster before Scott arrived. Baker and Foster made small talk and shook hands. Baker has remained silent in this year's race.

Foster and his challenger, Rick Kriseman, have both asked Baker for an endorsement.

Still, the nonpartisan race to lead Florida's fourth-largest city is partisan.

Kriseman has accepted more than $30,000 from the state Democratic Party, which also pays the salary for his campaign manager.
Foster has repeatedly blasted Kriseman for making the race partisan.

While it pales in comparison to Kriseman's help from the state party, the Republican Party of Florida is also aiding Foster. The party's regional field director in the area is helping Foster's team canvass neighborhoods on weekends.

[Last modified: Monday, September 30, 2013 11:42am]

    

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