Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

It's decision day in St. Petersburg's mayoral race

ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Bill Foster and challenger Rick Kriseman have made countless arguments on why each should lead the city for four years.

The months of campaigning will come to an end today, with polls open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The former City Council members and lawyers plan to vote early, and then call residents to urge them to get out to vote.

Foster, 50, worked the phones Monday. In between calls, the mayor said he wants residents to consider whether they like the direction the city is headed. If so, they should give him four more years at the helm, he said.

"Get out to vote," the incumbent said as he dialed his phone. "It's all about momentum."

Kriseman, 51, had a similar message for voters.

"Are people satisfied with the leadership they have?" Kriseman asked. "Would they like a better St. Pete? We can do better."

This race, officially nonpartisan, has been one of the city's most partisan elections. It also has been the costliest. The men have collected a combined $613,576 in donations through Oct. 31.

Kriseman collected $331,441 versus Foster's $282,135.

In the campaign's final days, Kriseman drew notable $500 donations from former Gov. Charlie Crist and his wife, Carole, and Goliath Davis, the former deputy mayor and police chief fired by Foster in 2011.

The state GOP also gave Foster $18,850 and another $11,100 for direct mail and phone calls. Meanwhile, the Pinellas County Democrats gave Kriseman $7,600, while the state party donated $10,000 and another $7,100 for salaries and direct mail.

As of Monday, voters had returned 47 percent of the more than 62,466 absentee ballots sent out by the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Office.

The 29,080 ballots nearly matches the 30,100 submitted at this point in the Aug. 27 primary election.

Foster picked up support from Gov. Rick Scott; while Kriseman won the backing of Crist, who announced Monday he will run against Scott as a Democrat.

But one heavily coveted endorsement in the race never came.

Former Mayor Rick Baker worked to help elect Foster in 2009, but didn't campaign or publicly endorse his fellow Republican this year. Kriseman and Foster both sought Baker's endorsement.

It's no secret that Baker is disappointed in the way Foster has handled economic development in the Midtown area, which includes the city's poorest areas. Helping African-American neighborhoods was a hallmark of Baker's eight years on office.

During more than 20 mayoral forums, countless residents lambasted Foster for not doing enough to help Midtown after he fired Davis. Two weeks ago, Foster announced plans to hire a high-level administrator to oversee economic development in Midtown.

As prominent Republicans begged Baker to endorse Foster, Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, tweeted last week that "Rick Baker's silence has hurt the GOP on St. Pete Mayor's race."

Baker's silence likely aided Kriseman in the black community — a key group that could prove key to deciding a close race.

Contact Mark Puente at mpuente@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8459. Follow on Twitter @ markpuente.

Also on the ballot

In St. Petersburg, voters will pick a new mayor and four council members.

In Clearwater, voters will decide whether the city should negotiate with the Clearwater Aquarium on a 60-year lease for 5.7 acres of waterfront property that includes City Hall and municipal tennis courts.

Kenneth City voters will decide whether they want a city manager form of government, and Belleair Beach residents will get the results of an all-mail election on a charter amendment that would appoint a special magistrate to vote on code variance issues.

It's decision day in St. Petersburg's mayoral race 11/04/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 11:53am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Deputies find unidentified decomposing body in Dunedin canal

    Public Safety

    DUNEDIN — Pinellas County sheriff's deputies found an unidentified male body floating in a Dunedin canal Monday afternoon, the Sheriff's Office said.

  2. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  3. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108
  4. Fennelly: About time Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    It's Andy's time.

    And it's about time.

    Former Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk has been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. He had been eligible since 2009, a ridiculously long wait for someone who scored 640 goals, including a record 274 on the power play.

    LEFT: Dave Andreychuk talks at the podium as he is honored with a statue in front of the now-Amalie Arena.
  5. British government says 75 out of 75 buildings failed fire safety tests

    World

    LONDON — Britain on Monday confronted a rapidly growing fire safety crisis after tests of the exterior cladding on dozens of public housing towers revealed a 100 percent failure rate, raising fears that this month's deadly inferno in London could be repeated elsewhere.

    Workers remove cladding from Whitebeam Court in Pendleton, Manchester, on Monday. A type of cladding restricted in other countries has been blamed for the fatal Grenfell Tower blaze.