Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Politics

St. Petersburg poll shows tight race for mayor

ST. PETERSBURG — With the Aug. 27 primary still six months away, a new poll shows that Mayor Bill Foster has a narrow edge over challenger Rick Kriseman.

Foster leads Kriseman 38 percent to 34 percent, with 28 percent of voters undecided.

The automated telephone poll of 690 registered St. Petersburg voters was done Monday by StPetePolls.org, commissioned by political blogger Peter Schorsch. It has a margin of error of 3.7 percent.

Even with close numbers, Foster and Kriseman supporters shouldn't get excited.

Mayoral races in the Sunshine City typically field many candidates. Ten hopefuls battled in the 2009 primary.

Kriseman, 50, a former City Council member and state legislator, said he isn't focused on the numbers. Instead, he said he prefers to communicate his message to voters about economic development, public safety, quality neighborhoods and open government.

"People want an alternative to Bill Foster, but you don't need a poll to know that," said Kriseman, who entered the race last week.

Foster, 49, said it's too early to look at polls: "It doesn't dictate campaigns, strategies or governance."

StPetePolls.org, a division of Fextel Inc., is operated by Matt Florell, a local resident and frequent red light camera critic. Fextel, founded by Florell in 2008, specializes in telephone solutions for businesses.

Schorsch, who runs SaintPetersBlog.com and often works as a political consultant, said he has not worked for Kriseman or Foster in any prior campaigns. He said he commissioned the poll because "previous polling didn't reflect the real-time status of the race."

Foster should be worried with the tight numbers, Schorsch said, adding: "The public is very tuned in to city affairs."

Schorsch said he wanted to quiz voters other potential candidates as well since Foster and Kriseman aren't his top choice for the job.

Voters were asked if they wanted former Mayor Rick Baker to seek a third term. Forty-four percent said yes; 42 percent disagreed; and 14 percent were unsure.

If Baker entered the race, 40 percent of respondents said they would vote for him. Another 37 percent favored "someone else." Only 23 percent picked Foster.

Although Kathleen Ford hasn't declared her candidacy, the poll asked about the former council member and frequent candidate: 33 percent want her to run; 39 percent don't; and 28 were unsure.

The poll didn't ask about candidate Paul Congemi, who drew 0.3 percent of votes in 2009, and also is running again this year.

Mark Puente can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8459. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/markpuente.

Comments
??Rick Scott appears in D.C. along with new GOP senators, despite the recount

??Rick Scott appears in D.C. along with new GOP senators, despite the recount

Even though his Senate race is in the middle of a recount, the governor was with new senators.
Updated: 3 hours ago
Judge considers Bill Nelson lawsuit to count votes with faulty signatures

Judge considers Bill Nelson lawsuit to count votes with faulty signatures

Florida's system of verifying signatures on mail and provisional ballots is under intense legal scrutiny.
Updated: 5 hours ago
Florida officials flag a possible violation of elections law by state Democrats

Florida officials flag a possible violation of elections law by state Democrats

The forms listed the wrong due date for voters to fix issues with their mail-in ballots.
Updated: 6 hours ago
Rick Scott wins suit against Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections

Rick Scott wins suit against Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections

Election watchers will now be allowed to stand inside the physical area where machine recounts are taking place.
Updated: 8 hours ago
Hillsborough to be a dumping ground for clay from Hardee County phosphate mine

Hillsborough to be a dumping ground for clay from Hardee County phosphate mine

Hillsborough County Commissioners on Wednesday voted 4-2 in favor of a controversial request by Mosaic to dump clay from its Ona Mine into the Four Corners Mine in southeast Hillsborough County.
Updated: 8 hours ago
Palm Beach recount further behind after machine malfunction

Palm Beach recount further behind after machine malfunction

There's uncertainty about meeting the Thursday deadline for a machine recount.
Updated: 8 hours ago
Broward County confident it will make Florida recount deadline

Broward County confident it will make Florida recount deadline

After starting the recount way after other counties, Broward is now optimistic about finishing on time.
Updated: 8 hours ago
Bill Nelson sues for fax, email voting records from Bay County

Bill Nelson sues for fax, email voting records from Bay County

The Bay County Supervisor of Elections has said he accepted some ballots by fax and email.
Updated: 9 hours ago
Judge Mark Walker is at the center of Florida recount legal fight

Judge Mark Walker is at the center of Florida recount legal fight

Several federal lawsuits are assigned to the federal judge.
Updated: 12 hours ago
Broward County elections supervisor says invalid ballots ‘were never counted’

Broward County elections supervisor says invalid ballots ‘were never counted’

She is trying to tamp down reports that she included invalid ballots in vote totals transmitted to the state over the weekend.
Updated: 12 hours ago