Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Petersburg political campaigns tap into Facebook, Twitter, blogs

ST. PETERSBURG — The 2009 election is shaping up to be the most Internet savvy race the city has ever seen, with a slew of declared candidates launching Web sites, social networking profiles, YouTube videos and blogs.

Council member Jamie Bennett created a Facebook account and launched his mayoral Web site, which has its own blog.

In one post, he takes on the contentious issue of a new stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays.

"My preference is for a stadium with a retractable roof on the existing property. But I am open to other suggestions," he wrote. "Let me be clear about a couple of principles: Under a Bennett administration, Major League Baseball will be in St. Petersburg. And with the economy in the shape it is, I hope the Rays submit a proposal that does not require public financing."

According to Facebook, Bennett is nonpartisan, though he has a history of activism in the Democratic Party. He also is a member of a group called Gay Marriage Killed the Dinosaurs, which takes a tongue-in-cheek look at opposition to gay marriage.

Mayoral contender Scott Wagman, a real estate broker, has a Web site that also links to his Facebook and Twitter features. On Facebook, he wrote that he digs Anita Baker and Caddyshack. His Web site has YouTube videos of residents talking about why they love the 'burg. In fact, his site seems to be more about what residents think than self-promotion, which supports his campaign's stance that he's still in the listening-to-voters stage.

Next up is Deveron Gibbons, an Amscot Financial vice president, who keeps his Facebook profile all business. It promotes his campaign, but gives very little insight into the man behind the campaign literature. Same goes for Gibbons' Web site.

Meanwhile, a handful of City Council candidates, including some incumbents, are just starting to build up their Web efforts.

Steve Kornell, who wants to replace Bennett in the District 5 seat, is a Breakfast Club and Nine Inch Nails fan, according to Facebook. On his Web site, he writes that he will fight for schools and economic development, but doesn't really say how he will create more jobs.

Council member Jim Kennedy's re-election site exists, but is totally bare.

On the other end of the spectrum, council member Karl Nurse's Web site promotes his pet causes.

Nurse and council member Jeff Danner, who is also likely to seek re-election, are on Facebook, too. But they seem more interested in keeping in touch with their buddies than reaching out to voters. For example, you can't even see Nurse's profile unless he approves you as his Facebook "friend." Facebook allows users to screen who can view their profiles, but most politicians leave their accounts open to the public.

Cristina Silva can be reached at (727) 893-8846 or

on the web

Local politicos

Jamie Bennett:

Scott Wagman:

Deveron Gibbons:

Steve Kornell:

Jim Kennedy:

Karl Nurse:

St. Petersburg political campaigns tap into Facebook, Twitter, blogs 02/10/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 10, 2009 10:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect


    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)


    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.