Friday, August 17, 2018
Politics

A quiet St. Petersburg mayor's race via Twitter

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St. Petersburg residents can now get daily updates on the future referendum to stop the Lens from moving forward.

The Pinellas Supervisor of Elections is posting daily updates on how many signatures have been verified on the more than 20,000 petitions turned in to the city clerk.

As of Thursday, the county had processed 8,512 signatures, and 95 percent had been declared valid. The office updates the total at the end of each day on its website.

Concerned Citizens of St. Petersburg handed in more than 20,000 petitions demanding a referendum to cancel the contract with Lens' designer Michael Maltzan Architecture.

The group needs 15,652 verified signatures to get the referendum on the ballot. If successful, the vote will most likely be on Aug. 27, the day of the city's primary election.

Foster now on Twitter

What's that line about a tree falling in the forest and nobody being around to hear it?

That's what comes to mind when St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster tweets campaign news. He launched his Twitter account last month and can be followed @Foster4Mayor.

Last week, he told his 10 followers about an upcoming fundraiser at Ferg's Sports Bar and Grill. Later, he told 33 followers about his new website: BillFosterformayor.com. As of Friday at 11 a.m., he had 46 followers and had tweeted 27 times.

Foster is running against former City Council member Kathleen Ford and former City Council member and former state lawmaker Rick Kriseman.

Kriseman can be followed on Twitter @Kriseman, where he had 927 followers and had tweeted 951 times as of that same time Friday. Ford can be followed at @kathleen_ford, where she had 95 followers and had tweeted 38 times.

Nehr withdraws

On second thought, former state Rep. Peter Nehr will not be running for the Pinellas County Commission after all.

Nehr, a Republican who served six years in the state House, from 2006 to 2012, but lost his bid for a fourth term last year to Democrat Carl Zimmerman, officially withdrew from the commission race in late April. He sent the Supervisor of Elections a letter stating: "Effective immediately I am withdrawing as a candidate for the elected position of Pinellas County Commission District #4."

Last year was not the smoothest for Nehr. In July, he made national news for sending his friends pictures of himself shirtless, intended, he said, to show how much weight he'd lost while struggling with diabetes. Later, after losing his District 65 seat, Nehr was found to have used leftover campaign money to pay his live-in girlfriend, an acupuncturist, $22,000. He said the money was for "consulting, editing and fundraising" work.

By then, he'd already announced his candidacy for Susan Latvala's District 4 seat on the Pinellas commission. Four people have filed to run against her, but two, including Nehr, have now withdrawn. The remaining two are Republican Timothy Keffalas and Democrat Jack McAdoo. Nehr did not return phone calls and emails seeking comment on why he'd backed out of the race.

Mark Puente can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8459. Follow @markpuente on at Twitter. Anna M. Phillips can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8779. Follow @annamphillips on Twitter.

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