Months of record-breaking fundraising and intense mud (or sewage) slinging ended in a near dead heat between Mayor Rick Kriseman and former Mayor Rick Baker. The top two candidates overwhelmed four longshots but finished just 70 votes apart. Both failed to earn more than 50 percent of the vote, setting up a Nov. 7 runoff. Certified results are not yet available, but the Tampa Bay Times used precinct-level data on registered voters and the unofficial returns to get a better sense of who supported each Rick.
Kriseman did better in places with more Democrats — except . . .
Baker, a Republican, actually beat his Democratic opponent in the city's most Democrat-heavy areas. Those precincts cover Midtown and Childs Park — economically depressed, majority-black communities that many analysts think will tip the election.
Kriseman would have dominated the primary had he just kept pace and continued drawing more votes in the neighborhoods with the most Democrats.
But Kriseman still won some majority-black neighborhoods and held down more integrated areas including Coquina Key, Lakewood Estates and Pinellas Point. He led neighborhoods that have 50 to 80 percent black voters, which helped push him slightly ahead of Baker overall.
Precincts with older voters leaned Baker and turned out in droves; younger precincts, not so much
Like most municipal elections, precincts with high populations of older voters had better turnout than younger precincts. That trend helped Baker on Tuesday, as he gained an advantage in the places home to 40 percent or more voters age 61 and older.
The young vote could prove decisive in November if more millennials cast ballots, though. Kriseman led in precincts with relatively few residents above the age of 60, like the area around Gateway and Gandy Boulevard. That neighborhood has developed rapidly with apartments and condominiums that cater to post-grads. Many were not around when Baker led the city from 2001 to 2010. Turnout was less than 20 percent in those precincts Tuesday.