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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Ruth's List Florida will not back Kathleen Ford for St. Petersburg mayor

Ruth's List Florida, a pro-choice group that seeks to elect Democratic women to office, has a harsh opinion on St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Kathleen Ford.

In email exchanges last month, the head of Ruth’s List Florida, Ellis Robinson, told several supporters that Ford “could not win the race. Y’all need to decide whether or not conditions have changes and we should endorse her this round.”

Recipients in the email included Pinellas County Commissioner Janet Long, former Florida Education Commissioner and USF president Betty Castor, activists Doris Weatherford and Sally Phillips and former Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink.

Ford is battling former City Council member Rick Kriseman and Mayor Bill Foster for St. Petersburg’s top job.

In response to Robinson, Sink said: “I previously endorsed Rick Kriseman so you can leave me off this email trial goin (sic) forward.”

Weatherford replied: “Kathleen Ford is too much of a loose cannon. Especially given Alex’s endorsement of Kriseman, let’s stay out of it…”

“I could not agree more! Rick is a friend and former colleague. He will be a good partner with County Government. I cannot support Kathleen," Long responded.

Robinson then thanked Long, saying: “I’m sure we will catch some flack for Kathleen, but Ruth’s List is about backing candidates who can win.”

Long wrote: “I do not believe that she can win. She is too loose of a cannon and ends up making enemies where it isn’t necessary. The Times will NEVER endorse her—just check her campaigns. She is a lighting rod. To the Democrats what the Tea Party is to the Republicans. St. Pete is too moderate for that. At least in my opinion.

Rick has already raised over $51,000. Though I know from personal experience that money isn’t everything—it certainly does speak to his viability. So just keep this in mind as you move through the process.”

“I agree with you on Kathleen—and it sounds like the rest of the Tampa Bay team agree with you and me,” Robinson said.

Bay Buzz obtained the email exchange from Long’s county account.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 10:40am]


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