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Mayors Jane Castor and Rick Kriseman say they’re staying out of Democratic presidential primary

Tampa and St. Petersburg’s Democratic mayors said this week they’ll stay neutral in their party’s presidential primary.
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, shown here at a September forum, aren't going to endorse a candidate in the Democratic presidential primary. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, shown here at a September forum, aren't going to endorse a candidate in the Democratic presidential primary. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
Published Dec. 20, 2019
Updated Dec. 20, 2019

Don’t look for any yard signs outside City Hall on either side of the bay during the Democratic presidential primary season.

As the presidential candidates start to prepare their ground games for the state’s March 17 primary, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and her St. Petersburg counterpart Rick Kriseman, both Democrats, are staying officially neutral in the primary.

Castor told the Tampa Bay Times this week that the non-partisan nature of her office makes her uncomfortable weighing in on the race. She reserves the right to publicly back the Democratic nominee, but said even that endorsement is a “maybe.”

That decision comes after Castor had publicly wrestled with whether or not she would endorse.

RELATED: Castor doesn’t relish political game

Also this week, Kriseman told Spectrum Bay News 9 that he doesn’t plan to endorse in the primary.

On Friday, mayoral spokesman Ben Kirby reiterated that the second term mayor “has no plans to endorse at the moment.”

As for the general election, Kirby said it was “early to say” and urged the Times to check back after the primaries.

Safe to say, the Sunshine City’s mayor won’t be backing President Donald Trump.

RELATED: Kriseman has no regrets about ‘Trump ban’

Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos, who leaves office due to term limits this spring, is a Republican. But he said in a text Friday that he doesn’t endorse candidates.

Not that it’s likely to matter this time around.

“I doubt we are going to have a contested Florida Republican primary,” he wrote.

The two-term mayor in a city effectively run on a daily basis by City Manager Bill Horne, has waded into national issues recently.

RELATED: Cretekos prayed over it, then calls for assault weapons ban


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