Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Petersburg mayoral candidates scramble for votes before Tuesday's primary

ST. PETERSBURG — With the window closing on Tuesday's primary election, mayoral candidates made a final push Saturday to turn undecided voters into supporters.

It worked for some.

Mayor Bill Foster and challenger Rick Kriseman knocked on dozens of doors in predominantly African-American areas south of Central Avenue.

Both men were armed with data listing residents who have not voted by mail.

"We've got a wave of momentum in spite of some difficult challenges," Foster said while walking on 26th Avenue S. "We're out of the funk that held us back. My mission is to keep it going. I have a vision to move this city forward."

Moments later, Otis Crawford III, 51, embraced Foster like a long, lost brother. The 51-year-old landscaper said Foster has served residents well.

"He's real. He talks real," said Crawford, who plans to vote for Foster. "He doesn't come across as a rich politician."

Tuesday, voters will whittle down the field of five to a final pair of candidates for the Nov. 5 general election. The race pits Foster against Kriseman and Kathleen Ford.

The other candidates, Paul Congemi and Anthony Cates, are not impacting the race.

The canvassing also paid off for Kriseman.

He found votes and places to park campaign signs in the Childs Park area.

"I heard your message, and I like it," Lonnie Jones, 76, told Kriseman.

The former City Council member and state lawmaker asked Jones about a yard sign touting Ford.

"Somebody drove around asking if they could put it there," Jones said. "That doesn't mean I'm going to vote for her."

Kriseman, 51, walked away smiling when Jones agreed to put a Kriseman sign in the yard. Another resident allowed Kriseman to replace a Ford sign with one of his own.

"I'm not going to forget about people in these neighborhoods," Kriseman said while walking on 11th Avenue S. "I'm not going to forget about bringing jobs to the city. I'm going to show leadership. I want to be held accountable."

Ford, 56, did not respond to several requests to tell the Tampa Bay Times her campaign activities for Saturday.

But one of her biggest supporters, Ray Tampa, the former head of the local chapter of the NAACP, said Ford was engaging voters.

"Kathleen will provide an honest, ethical and credible government for St. Petersburg," he said. "Kathleen believes in transparency, accountability, and she will make sure the people will have a say in government."

Kriseman and Foster had different tactics Saturday.

Foster, 50, wore a Tampa Bay Bucs hat and a campaign T-shirt from his 2009 race, saying: "Foster in a new era."

He unleashed 40 volunteers across voting precincts in Lakewood Estates and the Lake Maggiore areas, armed with Foster signs and wearing white re-elect Foster for mayor T-shirts.

Kriseman, wearing a teal and white dress shirt, marched with his young son and campaign manager. He had 30 volunteers calling undecided voters.

The campaigns aren't going away.

Messages will still flood Twitter and Facebook as door knocking and phone calls dwindle. Social media became places for candidates to seek donations and a venue for supporters to toss barbs back and forth.

Ford, who used social media the least, often went days without posting information — until Friday. She told supporters to "check back each day for reasons why you should vote" for Ford.

As of Friday, voters had returned 27,409 — or 43 percent — of the 63,245 absentee ballots sent by the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Office.

In the 2009 primary election, residents returned 20,103 — or 33.8 percent — of the 62,155 absentee ballots. Overall, 36,733 residents voted, 23 percent of the city's electorate.

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

St. Petersburg mayoral candidates scramble for votes before Tuesday's primary 08/24/13 [Last modified: Saturday, August 24, 2013 10:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Beards are back in style, but guys, take care of them

    Blogs

    Tired of sitting in front of a computer screen for a living, Tyler Goelz wanted to make something tangible. The 28-year-old web developer only had to look in the mirror to find inspiration.

    Tyler Goelz of St. Petersburg, the creator of Organic Beard Supply, is pictured at Central Oak Barber Co. in St. Petersburg with some of his products. Goelz, 28, has had a beard since he could grow one.
  2. William March: Two Democrats appear to lead challenge of U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross

    Politics

    Half a dozen Democrats have filed for the primary to challenge U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland, but so far, only two have mounted substantial financial campaigns — Andrew Learned of Bloomingdale and James Gregory "Greg" Pilkington of Indian Lake Estates in Polk County.

    Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland, faces a challenge from Democrats hoping to take advantage of voter dissatisfaction with Republican President Donald Trump. [Times file]
  3. Gov. Scott says decisions on Confederate monuments should be left to the democratic 'process'

    Blogs

    Gov. Rick Scott this morning avoided directly answering whether Confederate monuments should be taken down, saying the decision should be part of a democratic "process."

    Workers place boards around a Confederate monument on Hillsborough County property in Tampa on Thursday, August 17, 2017. It took 24 hours to raise private funds in order to move the statue from its current location.
  4. A 5,000-year-old stone carving may be the world's first drawing of an eclipse

    Space

    An unassuming grass-covered stone mound outside of Dublin, Ireland, may be home to the world's oldest visual representation of a solar eclipse.

    This 5,000-year-old stone carving in Meath, Ireland, predating Stonehenge by at least 1,000 years, may be the world's oldest surviving depiction of an eclipse. [Courtesy of Michael Fox-Boynevalleytours.com]
  5. Ex-Bucs WR Vincent Jackson highlights Kriseman's pick for Manhattan Casino restaurant

    Blogs

    Mayor Rick Kriseman picked a Floribbean-themed restaurant to highlight turning a new page in the historic Manhattan Casino, which has been shuttered for more than a year after the city …

    Kriseman makes his choice on a new tenant for the iconic Manhattan Casino: Floribbean cuisine