Friday, May 25, 2018
Politics

Outside groups attack Kriseman, Foster in St. Petersburg's mayoral race

ST. PETERSBURG — The attacks keep coming.

With two weeks until the Nov. 5 general election, outside political committees and the state Republican and Democratic parties are dumping thousands of dollars into the contest between Mayor Bill Foster and challenger Rick Kriseman.

Mailers from Tallahassee, Tampa and St. Petersburg are blasting both men.

The ads attacking Kriseman carry a similar theme: He didn't accomplish anything during his six years in the Florida House, a popular Foster refrain on the campaign trail.

"No leadership. No results. No thanks!" said Foster's mailer.

Working Together for Florida, a Tampa electioneering group, shows a picture of an empty chair and says: "Rick Kriseman has been the man who wasn't there." The group received $100,000 in July from the Florida Leadership Fund, a committee headed by state Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater.

For months, Foster has criticized Kriseman for injecting party politics into the nonpartisan race.

"This is the height of hypocrisy from a mayor who will do anything to hang on to power," Kriseman said Monday in a statement. "My campaign will continue to make this about my record, Mr. Foster's record and St. Petersburg's future."

A second mailer from Fact Check Florida says "Bill Foster's vision for St. Petersburg just isn't clear." The ad depicts the Pier covered by a blurry set of eyeglasses.

"I hate them," Foster said about the ads from outside groups. "I have never been in a partisan race before."

The mayor said his mailer compares records and doesn't attack Kriseman. Foster said he has no control over outside groups.

"I don't hold Kriseman accountable for the hit pieces on me," Foster said. "He didn't make a lot of friends in Tallahassee."

A recent GOP mailer says Kriseman has a proven record of failure and quotes Jim Frishe, a former Pinellas lawmaker.

"If Rick had depended on the grades he got from organizations responsible for protecting small business and creating jobs, he never would have graduated high school," Frishe's mailer says.

Multiple mailers from Tallahassee-based Accountability in Government describes Kriseman as a career politician. The group recently received $96,000 from the state GOP.

Contact Mark Puente at [email protected] or (727) 893-8459. Follow on Twitter @ markpuente.

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