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.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Tampa Bay.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Tampa Bay stories

No stories could be found

Tampa Baypostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Tampa Bay.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more