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Everything you need to know about St. Pete’s City Council elections

Half the council is up for grabs as eight candidates vie to fill four seats. Here’s a primer for Tuesday’s election.
2019 St. Petersburg City Council candidates, from top left to bottom right: in District 7, Eritha "Akile" Cainion and Lisa Wheeler-Bowman; in District 3, Orlando Acosta and Ed Montanari; in District 1, Robert Blackmon and John Hornbeck; in District 5, Trenia Cox and Deborah Figgs-Sanders. [[Scott Keeler, Chris Urso]]
Published Nov. 4
Updated Nov. 5

ST. PETERSBURG — Eight candidates. Four council seats. Three referendum questions.

Two incumbents are running for re-election. Two seats will be filled with newcomers.

Will voters upend half the council? Or will they maintain the status quo?

Will they pass the three referendum questions? Or will they vote them down?

The Tampa Bay Times has covered every race from the start. Here’s everything you need to know about the 2019 St. Petersburg City Council elections:

VOTER’S GUIDE: Get to know St. Petersburg’s City Council candidates

St. Petersburg City Hall. [DIRK SHADD | Times]

MUST-READ: The stories people are talking about.

The city has high hopes for redeveloping Tropicana Field’s 86 acres ― with or without a baseball team. The council members elected Tuesday could have a big say in that plan. Read what the eight candidates have to say about their visions for reshaping the Trop.

St. Petersburg council races are nonpartisan ― or at least they’re supposed to be. But it’s a partisan age, and partisan politics became an issue in the District 3 race.

DISTRICT 1: Robert Blackmon vs. John Hornbeck

St. Petersburg City Council District 1 candidates Robert Blackmon, left, and John Hornbeck. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]

District 1: Disagreements in St. Pete City Council District 1 race stray from the issues

DISTRICT 3: Orlando Acosta vs. Ed Montanari

St. Petersburg City Council District 3 candidates Orlando Acosta, left, and incumbent council member Ed Montanari. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]

District 3: Incumbent’s record focus of St. Petersburg District 3 race

DISTRICT 5: Trenia Cox vs. Deborah Figgs-Sanders

St. Petersburg City Council District 5 candidates Trenia Cox, left, and Deborah Figgs-Sanders. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]

District 5: St. Petersburg District 5 candidates offer similar views on city

DISTRICT 7: Eritha “Akile” Cainion vs. Lisa Wheeler-Bowman

St. Petersburg City Council District 7 candidates Eritha “Akile” Cainion, left, and incumbent council member Lisa Wheeler-Bowman. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]

District 7: Two distinct views of St. Petersburg mark District 7 council race

Referendums: Three questions

Here’s everything you need to know about the three referendum question on the ballot.


  1. St. Petersburg's single-use plastic straw ban kicks in starting Jan. 1, 2020. BOYZELL HOSEY  |  Times
    The City Council on Thursday is set to adopt some tweaks to the ordinance, including making all straws by-request-only.
  2. St. Petersburg's new 26-acre Pier District, with components that will include a coastal thicket walking path, marketplace, playground and pavilion, is nearing completion. Shown is the tilted lawn in front of the Pier head building that is being created  with Geofoam, soil and grass. SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    St. Petersburg hopes to sell naming rights in the Pier District — available for annual payments of $50,000 to $1 million for 10-year terms — to help offset taxpayer subsidies.
  3. The Pinellas County Commission moved closer Tuesday to granting a total of $20.6 million to three museums: the Salvidor Dali Museum (top), the Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center (bottom left), and the St. Petersburg Museum of History. Photos courtesy of Pinellas County
    The Dalí Museum, St. Petersburg Museum of History and Tampa Bay Watch are on track to receive bed tax dollars for expansions.
  4. St. Petersburg police Assistant Chief Antonio Gilliam is one of three finalists for chief of the Tallahassee Police Department. Gilliam has spent his career in St. Pete but was born and raised in Tallahassee. [Courtesy of Antonio Gilliam] Courtesy of Antonio Gilliam
    Antonio Gilliam, who oversees the department’s investigative services bureau, said he couldn’t ignore an opportunity to lead his hometown police department.
  5. Northwood Plams Boulevard in Wesley Chapel has been closed for six months for sewer repair, and residents are ready for it to reopen. After a couple delays, Pasco County expects the project to be complete by the end of the week. Times File
    A Wesley Chapel reader wants to know when Northwood Palms Boulevard will reopen.
  6. Shown here are photographs of damaged parking meters along Central Avenue in downtown St. Petersburg. Those responsible for the damage were arrested Friday evening, according to city police. Times
    Three times in two weeks, police found city parking meters damaged with foam. Now a man and woman are in custody on felony charges.
  7. Spanx founder and Clearwater native Sara Blakely will be the keynote speaker at the Synapse Summit 2020 innovation convention, scheduled for Feb. 11 and 12 at Amalie Arena in Tampa. (Times file photo)
    Organizers say the Clearwater native is a game-changer for the event on Feb. 11-12 at Amalie Arena. It is expected to draw more than 6,000 entrepreneurs.
  8. St. Petersburg's City Council just passed a tenant bill of rights. SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN  |  Susan Taylor Martin
    The new ordinance is meant to reduce housing discrimination and lower eviction rates.
  9. John C. Pelczynski of Massachusetts untangles the lines on his kite at the Veterans Day Fall Fly on TI. Tampa Bay Times (2014)
    Museums and aquariums are offering free admission, plus there are parades on land on sea in honor of Veterans Day
  10. Workers repair a broken pressurized sewer line along 62nd Avenue N. JAY CONNER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The ordinance was set for adoption Dec. 5.