Wednesday, May 23, 2018
News Roundup

St. Petersburg: Foster and Kriseman headed to runoff, voters reject the Lens

ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Bill Foster will be facing Rick Kriseman in the Nov. 5 general election, according to unofficial election results.

More surprising, perhaps, is how close a race it was. Foster led by fewer than 1,000 votes.

Foster captured almost 41 percent of votes, compared to Kriseman's 39 percent. Kathleen Ford trailed with 19 percent.

Voters also overwhelmingly rejected the proposed pier replacement project called the Lens, with 63 percent of people voting to end the city's contract with the architect who was going to build it.

Foster was expected to make the runoff, so the five-person contest really was a race for second place.

Obstacles included Kriseman reintroducing himself to residents after serving in the Florida House for six years, and Ford overcoming her reputation as a divisive figure while on City Council.

Both Kriseman, 51, and Ford, 56, painted themselves as leaders who could move the city forward when it came to basic services like policing and improving neighborhoods. Both called Foster, 50, a failed leader.

He expected the criticism.

Foster frequently said his challengers would exploit his record since neither had done anything to help residents in the last four years. Foster, Kriseman and Ford are all lawyers and former council members.

The other two mayoral candidates, Anthony Cates and Paul Congemi, each garnered less than 1 percent of early votes.

The sprint to the Nov. 5 general election should be different than the mostly lackluster primary race.

Both men know they have to differentiate themselves with voters to lead City Hall. Each agreed that the recent dozen mayoral forums didn't provide a good opportunity to promote their visions.

The race could also come down to money.

Kriseman's Tallahassee connections paid off in the primary. He raised more campaign money than Foster and Ford. But raising even more will be crucial to carry the momentum until November.

As of Friday, Foster had about $36,000 available; Kriseman only had about $9,000.

Foster, who was meeting with supporters at the Midtown Sundries Sports Bar in downtown St. Petersburg, said he was taking the early results as a sign that voters are generally happy with the direction the city is headed.

Of his likely opponent, Foster said, "I'm going to run on my record. I expect him to run on his."

He said it didn't matter to him whether he faced Ford or Kriseman in the general election. He said his campaign did some polling that mirrored the early results. However, he said he thought with the large amount of absentee ballots that Ford might have come closer to Kriseman than she did.

As far as voters' rejection of the Lens, Foster said he will focus on moving forward.

The city is seeking permits to have the inverted pyramid Pier demolished and he will recommend a new process to pick a new pier to council soon.

He said he is pleased with the work of the 828 Alliance, which he formed to come up with a new selection strategy. That group will meet tomorrow to talk about moving forward.

Kriseman, who was meeting with his supporters Tuesday at the Palladium Theater, said he will court Ford supporters to help put him over the top in the general election.

"We need their energy and ideas," he said. "I'm going to work hard to earn their vote."

When asked about voters' rejection of the Lens and where the city should go from here, Kriseman said the mayor is still in charge of that process right now.

When pressed on whether he would call on Foster not to move forward with tearing down the pier until after the general election, Kriseman said that he'd like to sit down with Foster and discuss that.

In other results:

In the District 4 council race show Darden Rice leading the pack with 46 percent of the votes, followed by Carolyn Fries with almost 26 percent, Dr. David McKalip with 24 percent, and Richard Eldridge with almost 5 percent. The top two finishers will face off Nov. 5.

In the District 6 race, incumbent Karl Nurse had an overwhelming lead over his two challengers, capturing 69 percent of the vote. Sharon Russ had 19 percent, followed by Trevor Mallory with 12 percent.

In the District 8 race, candidate Amy Foster had a commanding led with 56 percent of the vote, followed by Steve Galvin with 18 percent, Alex Duensing with 16 percent and Robert Davis with 10 percent. The top two will face off on Nov. 5.

Check back here for updates.

 
Comments
Forecast: Relative calm before Invest 90L threatens to deluge Tampa Bay this weekend

Forecast: Relative calm before Invest 90L threatens to deluge Tampa Bay this weekend

ST. PETERSBURG — While rain chances will decrease over the next two days, it is only a relative calm before a broad low pressure system moves into the Gulf of Mexico, producing strong storms across an already drenched Tampa Bay for Memorial Day weeke...
Updated: 8 minutes ago
At Bay 3, developers of Tampa’s Armature Works transform old industrial space into new co-work offices

At Bay 3, developers of Tampa’s Armature Works transform old industrial space into new co-work offices

TAMPA — The name of the new Bay 3 co-working space at the Armature Works goes back to World War I, when the red-brick warehouse overlooking the Hillsborough River was the maintenance barn for Tampa Electric’s streetcar system.As the name suggests, it...
Updated: 17 minutes ago
Bayport Pier reconstruction on hold as Hernando commissioners grapple with budget shortfall

Bayport Pier reconstruction on hold as Hernando commissioners grapple with budget shortfall

BROOKSVILLE — The concept of a multimillion dollar budget crisis and the reality of one are two very different things, as Hernando County Commissioners learned Tuesday.Faced with an $11.5 million shortfall going into the new budget year, they discuss...
Updated: 19 minutes ago
CareerSource Pinellas bought a science center. Now the bill is coming due.

CareerSource Pinellas bought a science center. Now the bill is coming due.

In 2014, Tampa Bay jobs chief Edward Peachey sought to save the failing Science Center of Pinellas County.He asked a small panel of CareerSource Pinellas board members to let him acquire the educational center for $100.The Science Center, he said, ha...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
Trash fees to appear on tax bills in the Spring Hill mandatory zone

Trash fees to appear on tax bills in the Spring Hill mandatory zone

BROOKSVILLE — County commissioners knew what they were in for.Inundated with emails and phone calls before Tuesday’s meeting, and facing an unhappy crowd of customers from the county’s garbage hauler Republic Services, county officials tried to get a...
Updated: 26 minutes ago
Commandos to unleash fury in downtown Tampa, but it’s just a demonstration (w/video)

Commandos to unleash fury in downtown Tampa, but it’s just a demonstration (w/video)

TAMPA — Machines of war will unleash their fury in downtown Tampa on Wednesday afternoon, but it’s just a demonstration.Special operations forces from around the world are scheduled to stage a mock confrontation of good guys versus bad guys from 1:30...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Termite damage poses a threat as hurricane season approaches, study says

Termite damage poses a threat as hurricane season approaches, study says

The start of hurricane season is just days away, and Florida residents might want to add one more thing to their preparation list: a termite inspection.Termite damage in houses and trees can leave homes vulnerable to suffering even more damage during...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Comcast may outbid Disney for Twenty-First Century Fox

Comcast may outbid Disney for Twenty-First Century Fox

Associated PressPHILADELPHIA — Comcast may make an offer for Twenty-First Century Fox, potentially putting it in a head-to-head bidding war with Disney. Comcast Corp. on Wednesday did not provide specific details on a bid, other than to say that it w...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Dade City honors deputy killed 15 years ago

Dade City honors deputy killed 15 years ago

DADE CITY — Fifteen years after the slaying of Pasco Sheriff’s Capt. Charles "Bo" Harrison brought shock and sadness to the community that loved him, emotions still run high as more honors come his way.Pasco County is preparing to honor Harrison’s me...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Gasparilla Bowl moving from Tropicana Field to Raymond James Stadium

Gasparilla Bowl moving from Tropicana Field to Raymond James Stadium

After a decade at Tropicana Field, the Gasparilla Bowl is moving across the bay to Raymond James Stadium, bowl officials announced Wednesday morning.The move begins this year, with RJS set to host ESPN's game at 8 p.m. on Dec. 20. The stadium's other...
Updated: 1 hour ago