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St. Pete mayor and council races are starting to roll

St. Petersburg's municipal elections are still months away, but the field is taking shape

Scott Keeler

St. Petersburg's municipal elections are still months away, but the field is taking shape



City politics have begun to stir in advance of this year’s municipal elections.

So far, only incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman has announced his reelection bid, although former mayors Rick Baker, Bill Foster are rumored to be contemplating bids.

Perennial fringe candidate Paul Congemi has also filed for mayor. 

Kriseman has raised $200,000 so far, including $1,000 donations from local power brokers like Craig Sher, Joe Saunders, Charlie Crist and Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg. Rays executives Brian Auld and Matt Silverman also wrote $1,000 checks to the mayor who brokered an agreement to let the team look outside the city for a new ballpark.

"St. Petersburg is a city going through a renaissance. We see a progressive city that encourages development and growth, and we want to see that continue," said Rays president Brian Auld in a statement.

Through his Sunrise political action committee, Kriseman has been raising money for reelection for over a year.

Four City Council seats are also up for grabs this year. So far, no one has challenged incumbents Amy Foster and Darden Rice.

Council chairwoman Rice announced her campaign for a second term Monday, saying there is still work to be done. Rice recently announced she has been diagnosed with breast cancer, but expects to make a full recovery.

" I’m running for reelection because our job isn’t complete until every person in our city is part of our progress,” Rice said in a statement. “That means standing against hatred, working with local businesses to create jobs that pay a living wage.

Karl Nurse and Jim Kennedy are both term-limited. A healthy number of hopefuls have already filed to take their places.

In District 6, which covers parts of Midtown, Old Southeast, downtown and parts of Old Northeast, three candidates have filed: Corey Givens Jr., Maria Scruggs and Sharon Russ.

Russ and Scruggs are no strangers to city politics, having run unsuccessfully several times for various positions. Givens also ran and lost a race for school board in 2012.

Russ, in the race since last year, filed paperwork showing she hadn’t raised any money so far.  Givens has raised $3,285. Scruggs's first report isn't due until March.

In District 2, which covers most of the city’s northeastern neighborhoods, Barclay Harless and Brandi Gabbard have both shown some early fundraising prowess, although Harless has opened an early cash lead.

Harless  has raised $14,502, including $1,000 donations from his former boss and Democratic gubernatorial and congressional candidate Alex Sink and high-profile lobbyists Alan Suskey and Louis Betz.

Gabbard has raised $5,760, with many donations coming from fellow real estate professionals.

There is still plenty of time for other candidates to come forward. The formal qualifying period runs between June 8 and June 23.

The non-partisan primary is Aug. 29. No one gets more than 50 percent in the mayoral race, the two candidates with the most votes proceed to the Nov. 7 general election. The two highest vote-getters in the council races also move on to the November election.

Editor's Note: The initial post incorrectly implied that Maria Scruggs hadn't filed her January campaign finance report. Her first report isn't due until March. 



[Last modified: Tuesday, February 14, 2017 9:15am]


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