St. Petersburg Mayor Kriseman launches re-election bid
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman kicked off his re-election campaign Wednesday with a fundraiser at the Three Birds Tavern, promising to take the Sunshine City to “the next level” if he gets a second term.
So far, only perennial long-shot candidate Paul Congemi has filed to run against Kriseman. But heavyweight former mayors, and Republicans, Rick Baker, Bill Foster are rumored to be considering a political return.
About 150 people over the two-hour reception in the tavern’s outdoor beer garden on Fourth Street N attended the event, said Tom Alte, Kriseman’s campaign manager.
Kriseman spoke for a few minutes, saying the city “was kind of stuck in neutral” when he took office three years ago. He told his supporters it’s “so important we don’t forget to keep our foot on the gas pedal.”
The Democratic mayor said he wanted to make sure all parts of the city thrive and looked forward to a second four-year term that would honor the city’s past while pursuing a brighter future.
Council members Charlie Gerdes and Darden Rice attended. Rice introduced Kriseman saying the mayor had accomplished a laundry list of objectives including a new Pier, redeveloping Tropicana Field and revitalizing downtown. She ended her litany of accomplishments by noting the mayor's $304 million plan to fix the city's sewers.
"It has been a heavy lift," Rice said.
The sewer crisis has consumed much of Kriseman's attention since the first gallons of sewage spilled in August 2015. Since then about 200 million have overflowed into Tampa and Boca Ciega Bays, prompting multiple state and federal investigations.
Kriseman didn't mention that crisis during his brief remarks. Instead, he stayed upbeat, urging his supporters to volunteer, donate money to his campaign and, most importantly, vote.
"As we know far too well, elections have consequences," Kriseman said.