Aug 20, 2021 - Politics

The race for St. Pete mayor could yield a historic result

Illustration of a pattern of voting booths.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

If you live in St. Pete, pay attention: You've got just a few more days to figure out who you think should be the city's next mayor.

Why it matters: Two of the three frontrunners would make history — Ken Welch as the city's first Black mayor, and Darden Rice as its first openly gay mayor.

Survey says, via Florida Politics: Former Pinellas County Commissioner Welch leads with 30.1%, with the City Council member Robert Blackmon in second at 25.2%. Rice, another Council member, trails at 16.4%.

  • If no one gets 50% of the vote, the top two candidates will face a runoff in November.

What they’re saying: Rice isn’t worried about the polls. She told Axios she’s confident in the work she and her team have been putting in since January.

  • “My opponents want to give the impression that I’m hanging on by a finger nail but that’s just not true."
  • "I am very confident in my positioning and momentum going into this Tuesday’s election.“

State of play: Welch has some big endorsements, including that of current Mayor Rick Kriseman, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, attorney John Morgan and the Tampa Bay Times editorial board.

  • Blackmon is backed by Pinellas County Commissioner Kathleen Peters, former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco and former St. Pete Mayor Bob Ulrich.
  • Rice's endorsements include Rep. Anna Eskamani, state Sen. Annette Taddeo, Equality Florida, LGBTQ Victory Fund, EMILY's List and Ruth's List.

Catch up quick: Hear from all the candidates in the St. Pete Catalyst's "My Mayor" video interview series.

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