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St. Petersburg City Council races are set

Sixteen candidates are vying for the four open seats, including two incumbents.
City Council members sit on the dais at St. Petersburg City Hall. Sixteen candidates, including two incumbents, are vying for four open seats. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]
Published Jun. 26
Updated Jun. 27

ST. PETERSBURG — With the qualifying period over, the races are set for the four City Council seats up for election this year.

Two of the seats include incumbent candidates and two are wide open. In all, 15 people are vying for positions on the dais at City Hall.

The District 1 seat, which encompasses the Tyrone area, is being vacated by term-limited Council Chair Charlie Gerdes. There are three contenders for the seat: lawyer Scott Orsini, 53; lawyer John Hornbeck, 34; and former District 6 candidate Robert G. Blackmon, 30.

In District 3, which represents the Shore Acres area, council member Ed Montanari, 61, is trying to hold off two challengers: Zachary James Collins, 36, and Orlando A. Acosta, 48.

The race for the District 5 seat, which covers Lakewood Estates and Pinellas Point, is wide open as council member Steve Kornell term-limited. The field is the most crowded, with six candidates running. They are Deborah Figgs-Sanders, 54, a member of the South St. Petersburg Community Redevelopment Area Citizen Advisory Committee and former executive director of the Childs Park YMCA; Trenia Cox, 68, a former St. Petersburg urban planner and manager at Pinellas County’s Juvenile Welfare Board; Beth Connor, 54, a paralegal and environmental activist; Anne Lenholt Hirsch, 61, a midwife and activist through the Uhuru Solidarity Movement; and Phil Garrett, 54, a former Hillsborough County Property Appraiser employee who has previously run for statehouse and council.

District 7 includes the other incumbent, council member Lisa Wheeler-Bowman. The district encompasses most of the area south and west of Tropicana Field and borders Gulfport. Wheeler-Bowman, 50, looks to hold off three challengers: Chico Cromartie, 47, a former member of the St. Petersburg NAACP executive committee and intern for former council member Karl Nurse; Eritha “Akile” Cainion, 22, affiliated with the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement and a candidate for the District 6 seat in 2017; and Sarah Elizabeth Moore, 22, a recent Florida State University graduate and former Florida Legislature intern.

Since all four races have at least three candidates, they are all headed to an Aug. 27 primary. The top two vote-getters in each race will move on to a Nov. 5 general election.

The term is four years and begins Jan. 2, 2020. Council members make $49,281 annually.

Editors note: an earlier version of this story included a name of a candidate who did not qualify.

Contact Josh Solomon at or (813) 909-4613. Follow @ByJoshSolomon.


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