The increasingly contentious race for the District 7 seat on the St. Petersburg City Council is too close to call, according to the latest poll of city voters.
Lisa Wheeler-Brown, who emerged from the primary as the top vote-getter, commands 36 percent support, while her opponent, Will Newton, is at 34 percent, according to a survey taken by St. Pete Polls.
A poll taken a month ago showed Brown at 34 percent and Newton at 27 percent. Since that time, Brown has been the subject of several less-than-flattering stories on this site and in the rest of the local media. Reports showed Wheeler-Brown may have broken campaign finance laws by using campaign funds for a dental procedure, reporting that expense as something else for more than six months and failing to report in-kind contributions for office space.
The Tampa Tribune editorial board reversed its support of Brown, citing these and other controversies.
With a month to go before Election Day, this new poll makes it clear the District 7 race is a genuine toss-up.
In the other City Council races, where two incumbents are facing challenges from first-time candidates, the races already appear over.
In District 1, Councilman Charlie Gerdes is at 39 percent, while Monica Abbott is at 20 percent. In District 5 (and likely much to the chagrin of the Tampa Bay Times editorial board) Steve Kornell leads Phillip Garrett 38 to 22 percent.
The poll was conducted with a 4 percent margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level.