Latvala calls on Florida GOP to jump into St. Pete mayor's race
Until Rick Baker called in Jeb Bush to help him win the St. Petersburg mayor's race in 2001, few people in the 'burg paid attention to the party affiliation of candidates in these officially non-partisan races. Racial politics, far more than partisan politics, have long had much more to do with who wins and loses campaigns for St. Petersburg mayor.
Still, partisanship has had a growing role since then, and this year the Florida Democratic party has spent at least $30,000 on staff support to elect Democratic former state Rep. Rick Kriseman mayor. If he wins, Kriseman would be the first Democrat elected to the position since 1975, and give the state party active, partisan Democrats leading the main cities along the I-4 Corridor - Orlando, Tampa, and St. Petersburg.
The state GOP so far has done little to help Republican incumbent Mayor Bill Foster, who appears to be in real trouble heading into the general election.
But Republican State Sen. Jack Latvala of Clearwater (whose ex-wife, Republican County Commissioner Susan Latvala has endorsed Kriseman) is calling on the state GOP to get in the game. He posted the following on Facebook:
Congratulations to my friend Mayor Bill Foster for leading the race for St Pete Mayor into the runoff. Here's hoping that the folks who run my political party in Tallahassee will wake up and give Bill the kind of help that the Democrats have given Rick Kriseman in the primary. Sure it's a nonpartisan race but are we supposed to leave our guy by alone on the battlefield while the other side gangs up on him? Bill Foster is the last big city mayor in Florida who happens to be a registered Republican. Don't think for one minute that doesn't play a big part in the tens of thousands of dollars the Florida Democratic Party has put into this nonpartisan race!