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Nearly 22K early ballots cast ahead of St. Pete primary

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More than 22,000 ballots have been cast ahead of for St. Petersburg’s Aug. 29 mayoral and City Council District 6 primaries.

Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark posted updated vote-by-mail numbers showing that, as of Thursday afternoon, 67,348 mail ballots have been sent, with just over 32 percent — 21,830 — have returned. By party, 10,113 Democrats, 8,003 Republicans and 3,714 NPR/other have cast votes.

With mayoral-only ballots, 18,345 have returned of the 58,600 mailed (just over 31 percent). Of the 8,748 of the mayoral and District 6 ballots sent, 2,200 (about 25 percent) have returned.

According to Clark’s office, there are 169,770 registered voters eligible to vote in this election: 47,011 Republicans, 78,253 Democrats and 44,506 NPA/other.

Incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman faces a crowded primary field Aug. 29, which includes his leading opponent — former two-term Mayor Rick Baker — as well as Anthony Cates III, Paul Congemi, Theresa “Momma Tee” Lassiter and Jesse Nevel. Candidate Ernisa Barnwell had been disqualified due to a filing error, and any vote cast for her will not count.

On the District 6 primary ballot are Justin Bean, Robert Blackmon, Eritha “Akile” Cainion, Gina Driscoll, Corey Givens Jr., James “Jim” Jackson, James Scott and Maria Scruggs. District 6 is a diverse part of the city that includes downtown and parts of the Old Northeast and Midtown, a largely African-American neighborhood.

The top two candidates in the Aug. 29 primary will go on to the Nov. 7 general election — which will also include the District 2 race between Brandi Gabbard and Barclay Harless, as well as District 4, between Jerick Johnston and incumbent Councilmember Darden Rice. Reauthorization for the Penny for Pinellas sales tax is also on the ballot.

Mail ballots must be received by 7 p.m. Election Day at one of the Pinellas elections offices: 315 Court St, Room 117, in Clearwater; 13001 Starkey Rd, Largo (Starkey Lakes Corporate Center) and 501 First Ave. N (Fifth St. N Entrance), St. Petersburg. Office hours are Monday — Friday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Election Day hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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