Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Politics

Kriseman barbecues with supporters ahead of the 4th in Midtown

ST. PETERSBURG — In the midst of a tight re-election battle, Mayor Rick Kriseman courted coveted Midtown voters at a cookout event Saturday.

Kriseman won 76 percent of the Midtown vote in his 2013 race against incumbent Mayor Bill Foster. Winning the area's heavily African-American neighborhoods again will likely be crucial to his election path. No St. Petersburg mayor in recent history has been elected without carrying them.

Kriseman is facing former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker. A St. Pete Polls survey released Tuesday showed Kriseman trailing Baker by 2.6 percentage points with Midtown voters — 36.4 to 33.8. The gap is well within the poll's 3.6 percent margin of error and is an improvement for Kriseman from the last poll in May, where Baker led in Midtown by 7.5 percentage points.

The Baker campaign says it expects to win the black vote. Baker, who won 91 percent of the Midtown vote in 2005, attacked Kriseman for neglecting the area at a debate Tuesday.

At the cookout, Kriseman said Baker didn't actually help Midtown as much as he claims.

"He's claiming credit for things he didn't do," Kriseman said of Baker. "And some of the things he did do weren't sustainable."

Kriseman offered up the opening of a Walmart Neighborhood Market in Midtown under Baker's tenure as an example. The Walmart recently closed during Kriseman's term. Kriseman said that's because Baker didn't do enough to make the business sustainable.

"He built it and it was needed," Kriseman said. "But he didn't take the next step to put dollars in the community: money for people to shop at the Walmart."

One speaker agreed, but didn't think re-electing Kriseman was the answer. Theresa "Momma Tee" Lassiter is one of the five other candidates who have qualified for the mayoral ballot. In 2013, she publicly supported Foster over Kriseman.

"Rick Kriseman, I love you," she said. "I love Baker. But I don't see jobs or opportunities out here."

A few people tepidly clapped after Lassiter spoke.

Though the event was held in Midtown and the crowd of about 50 was mostly black, Kriseman only alluded to race in his speech, mentioning that he would help those who were disadvantaged. He also never mentioned the official opening of his Midtown campaign office, though his campaign manager, Jacob Smith, said that was part of the reason for the event.

Smith promised Kriseman would not treat black voters as a monolithic bloc.

"If you put 10 people in south St. Petersburg in a room, you'll get 11 opinions," Smith said. "Diversity of opinion in south St. Pete is just as great as it is in the rest of the city."

Others disagreed. Jim Jackson, a candidate for the District 6 City Council seat, said the Kriseman campaign needed to continue targeting voters in the black neighborhoods of Midtown.

"These are the votes he needs," Jackson said.

Contact Asa Royal at [email protected]

Comments
‘What do we want? Apology!’ Hundreds of Haiti supporters protest near Mar-a-Lago

‘What do we want? Apology!’ Hundreds of Haiti supporters protest near Mar-a-Lago

Sun Sentinel (TNS)PALM BEACH — About 500 Haitian-Americans and their supporters used the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday to protest derogatory comments President Donald Trump reportedly made about immigrants from majority-black countries."What do we w...
Updated: 10 hours ago

U.S. forced to renew DACA permits as furor over Trump’s immigration slur persists

Los Angeles Times (TNS)WASHINGTON — The Trump administration, under court order, said it would resume taking applications to renew temporary protections from deportation for hundreds of thousands of immigrants who were brought to the country illegall...
Published: 01/14/18
GOP senator: Reports of Trump’s ‘s---hole’ comments a ‘gross misrepresentation’

GOP senator: Reports of Trump’s ‘s---hole’ comments a ‘gross misrepresentation’

A Republican senator is insisting that President Donald Trump did not use a vulgar term in referring to African countries during a closed-door meeting on immigration that he and five other senators attended last week.Georgia Sen. David Perdue called ...
Published: 01/14/18
Ethics panel advised to deny legal fees in unfounded Ken Hagan complaint

Ethics panel advised to deny legal fees in unfounded Ken Hagan complaint

A Florida Ethics Commission staff attorney has drafted an order denying Hillsborough County’s request for reimbursement for attorney fees from one of four citizens who filed unsustained ethics complaints against Commissioner Ken Hagan.The commission ...
Published: 01/12/18
Haitians in Tampa Bay area react to Trump’s slur:

Haitians in Tampa Bay area react to Trump’s slur: "It’s very racist"

Fadia Richardson had just finished dinner Thursday when she sat down to watch the news and saw a report she didn’t want to believe.In an Oval Office meeting with lawmakers to discuss immigration policy earlier in the day, President Donald Trump repor...
Published: 01/12/18
Sen. Durbin says Trump said ‘hate-filled things’

Sen. Durbin says Trump said ‘hate-filled things’

WASHINGTON — A senator present at a White House immigration meeting says President Donald Trump used vulgar language to describe African countries, saying he "said these hate filled things and he said them repeatedly." Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois D...
Published: 01/12/18
Trump denies he used vulgarity to describe African countries

Trump denies he used vulgarity to describe African countries

WASHINGTON — In bluntly vulgar language, President Donald Trump questioned Thursday why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Haiti and "sh--hole countries" in Africa rather than places like Norway, as he rejected a bipartisan immigration deal, ...
Published: 01/12/18
Africa startled by Trump’s ‘extremely offensive’ comments on immigrants

Africa startled by Trump’s ‘extremely offensive’ comments on immigrants

JOHANNESBURG — Africans woke up on Friday to find President Donald Trump had finally taken an interest in their continent. It wasn’t what people had hoped for.Using vulgar language, Trump on Thursday questioned why the U.S. would accept more immigran...
Published: 01/12/18
Hillsborough Republicans off to a rocky start in 2018

Hillsborough Republicans off to a rocky start in 2018

The Hillsborough County Republican Party is having a shaky start to election year 2018. Chairman Deborah Tamargo has been ousted over a seemingly petty squabble that reflects the long-standing division between East Hillsborough conservatives and esta...
Published: 01/12/18
Clearwater City Council Candidate Tom Keller says he’s a voice for the ordinary resident

Clearwater City Council Candidate Tom Keller says he’s a voice for the ordinary resident

Editor’s note: Ahead of the March 13 election, the Tampa Bay Times is publishing profiles on Clearwater City Council candidates for Seat 4 today. Profiles on candidates for Seat 5 will appear next week.CLEARWATER — Tom Keller is the first one to admi...
Published: 01/12/18