Nickens: Rick Kriseman’s ultra partisan campaign is a turn-off

Democratic mayor of St. Pete trying to attach opponent Rick Baker to Donald Trump.
Published Oct. 29, 2017

From Tim Nickens, editor of editorials at the Tampa Bay Times:

Rick Baker has never met President Donald Trump. He has never contributed money to Trump's campaign or attended a Trump campaign event. He didn't attend Trump's inauguration, and he has not set foot inside the White House since Trump took office.

Yet St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's campaign against the former mayor is centered on tying Trump around Baker's neck. Never mind this is a nonpartisan race as defined by the city charter that Kriseman swore to uphold when he took office. Never mind there is nothing to tie Baker to Trump besides their Republican Party affiliation.

The Florida Democratic Party recently sent to my house a mailer with pictures of Trump and Baker — and of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. with his quote, "There comes a time when silence is betrayal." King led the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Baker is supported by Sevell Brown, the longtime former president of the SCLC chapter in St. Petersburg. Baker decisively won the poor, black neighborhoods of Midtown in the primary. But the Kriseman campaign and the Democrats would rather cheapen a phrase from King's seminal speech against the Vietnam War than deal with reality.

Another Democratic Party mailer pictures Trump and Baker and warns, "The Republicans are trying to take St. Pete. Don't let them." There are nearly 47,000 registered Republicans living in St. Petersburg. Does Kriseman want them to move, or is he mayor for only Democrats?

Read Tim's column here.