Rick Kriseman, the 54-year-old Detroit native, is feeling confident as he runs for re-election this fall, even though polls show that a November confrontation with former Mayor Rick Baker could go either way.
But Team Kriseman thinks that “The Sunshine City” is much different place than the last decade, and that his progressive agenda is more in tune with a community that continues to flourish.
“Only the most cynical of partisans wouldn’t agree that St. Pete’s continuing renaissance and bright future is in no small part due to his many successful initiatives and bold leadership,” says Progress Florida’s Mark Ferrulo.
The mayor is coming off a rough 2016, with the lack of transparency regarding the city’s sewage system earning the most criticism in his first term in office.
A big bet (that won’t be known until next year) is his administration’s plan to retain the Tampa Bay Rays by luring them back to a redeveloped footprint at Tropicana Field.
The rising costs of the Pier project make that one piece of the puzzle that Kriseman hasn’t figured out as he goes deeper into his re-elect campaign, and Baker is promising to make that an issue all summer.
The mayor moves up from the No. 9 slot in 2016.
Joe Henderson’s Take
“Kriseman will have some ‘splainin’ to do if he hopes to survive what surely will be a bruising re-election battle with Rick Baker. The sewage fiasco last year won’t be forgotten, and his performance during that stinky time wasn’t exactly stellar. That aside, he has presided over a renaissance in St. Petersburg that is truly impressive. I like how he stressed cross-bay cooperation, but I do think his push to build a Rays stadium next to Tropicana Field is delusional. More people don’t come to Rays games because the Trop is bad. They don’t’ come because of where it is located.”
For a complete explanation of how this list was created and who made up the panel that amassed it, please read here.