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St. Petersburg’s deputy mayor, Kanika Tomalin, considers congressional run

“Thinking quite hard about it,” she said, now that her boss, Mayor Rick Kriseman, has announced he’s not running.
St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin is considering a run for Congress.
St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin is considering a run for Congress.
Published Jun. 4
Updated Jun. 4

ST. PETERSBURG — Kanika Tomalin, St. Petersburg’s deputy mayor, is considering a run for Congress in 2022.

“Thinking quite hard about it,” she said by phone Friday.

She serves under Mayor Rick Kriseman, whose term ends in January. Kriseman was considering running for the District 13 seat, which is being vacated by U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) as he seeks a gubernatorial bid. But Kriseman this week announced he does not intend to run for the office.

“Mayor Kriseman’s decision has everything to do with my own considerations for it,” said Tomalin, 45. “A hundred percent behind him when he was considering the role and when he decided that is not a path he is going to pursue, I got a lot of questions about my interest pretty immediately, and it certainly opened a pathway for me to consider.”

Tomalin, a Democrat, said her experience — eight years in city government and before that a hospital executive — plus her “sincere passion for elevating St. Pete on the national stage, would all serve in elevating this community very well.” She would be the first Black woman to represent St. Petersburg in Congress.

The Democrats who have announced runs are Eric Lynn, a national security advisor who ran in 2016 but stepped out of the race when Crist ran; state representative Ben Diamond and Christian Hotchkiss.

Republican Anna Paulina Luna, who lost the election to Crist in 2020, has announced she’ll run again. Frank Craft is running as a Libertarian.

Tomalin said she plans to make a final decision soon, in consultation with her children.