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Kriseman bombarded by attacks in St. Petersburg mayor's race

The attacks keep coming in the mayor's race.

With 15 days until Election Day, Mayor Bill Foster, the Florida Republican Party and two political committees are blasting voters with mailers attacking challenger Rick Kriseman.

Thousands of glossy mailers landed in mailboxes from Tallahassee, Tampa and St. Petersburg. Each carried a similar theme: Kriseman didn't accomplish anything during the six years he spent in the Florida House - one of Foster's most popular refrains on the campaign trail.

"No leadership. No results. No thanks!" stated a mailer paid for by Foster's campaign.

Working Together for Florida, a Tampa electioneering group, shows a picture of an empty chair and says: "Rick Kriseman has been the man who wasn't there."

The group received a $100,000 donation in July from the Florida Leadership Fund, a political committee headed by state Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater. Working Together's website also says Latvala is associated with the group.

For months, Foster has criticized Kriseman over partisan politics.

"After months of denouncing partisanship in the mayor's race, Bill Foster goes silent after multiple Tallahassee shadow groups linked to Rick Scott and the Republican Party of Florida have launched false negative attacks against me," Kriseman said.

"This is the height of hypocrisy from a mayor who will do anything to hang on to power. My campaign will continue to make this about my record, Mr. Foster's record and St. Petersburg's future."

Foster agreed. The mayor said his mailer compares his record to Kriseman and doesn't attack him.

"I hate them," Foster said about ads from outside groups. "I have never been in a partisan race before."

One group is also helping Kriseman. Jacksonville-based Fact Check Florida sent mailers 10 days ago linking Foster to Gov. Rick Scott. Foster said he has no control over the outside groups.

"I don't hold Kriseman accountable for the hit pieces on me," Foster said. "He didn't make a lot of friends in Tallahassee."

The mayor's race has become the city's most partisan election. The state GOP is helping Foster, while the Democratic Party backed Kriseman when he entered the race.
A recent GOP mailer says Kriseman has a proven record of failure and quotes Jim Frishe, a former St. Petersburg lawmaker.

"If Rick had depended on the grades he got from organizations responsible fir protecting small business and creating jobs, he never would have graduated high school," Frishe says.

Another mailer from Tallahassee-based Accountability in Government says Kriseman loves being a career politician. The front shows money falling over Kriseman; the other side says he voted to increase his pay in 2010 and voted three times against cutting his pay. The group recently received $96,000 from the state GOP.