Here’s where sh*t stands – the ‘back to local politics’ edition

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Well, the circus has left town.

With the GOP primary over, the presidential campaigns and the national media have moved onto the next state.  So it’s back to local politics for a moment.  And here’s where shit stands.

St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster chatted me up last week after asking “Should I really read your blog? My wife reads it and then asks me ‘Why does Peter hate you?’

Aww, come on now, I don’t hate the Mayor.  He’s my fraternity brother, after all. I just like to ask about the road not traveled.

Anyone who talks of a falling out between Rep. Jeff Brandes and Sen. Jack Latvala simply doesn’t know what they’re talking about. I’ll leave it at that.

If Charlie Crist were going to run for Governor in 2014, appearing on a slew of national news programs to discuss Tuesday’s GOP primary is exactly what he should have done.

But…

If Charlie Crist were not going to run for Governor in 2014 and instead remain a well-liked public figure who brings positive attention to his employers and business associates, appearing on a slew of national news programs to discuss Tuesday’s GOP primary is exactly what he should have done.

After being stripped of his committee chairmanship yesterday, Senator Mike Fasano is much closer to running for the State House than  he was before the incident, two sources close to the senator tell me.  If he does, Fasano would run for the seat currently occupied by Rep. John Legg, who is term-limited.

There’s a good reason why Shawn Foster won’t be running for the seat on the Pasco County Commission vacated by Ann Hildebrand: he’s in talks to join powerhouse lobbying firm Southern Strategies to open an office in Tampa, where he’d partner with friend-of-SaintPetersBlog Laura Boehmer to focus on the burgeoning local lobbying business.

While I’m sorry to see Shawn not run, this is a win-win for both he and Southern Strategies.

I peg the likelihood of Rep. Rick Kriseman running for Mayor of St. Petersburg in 2013 at 66%.  But I put the likelihood of a strong Republican running in 2012 for Kriseman’s legislative seat at 100%.  Look for an announcement from at least one game-changing candidate in as soon as the next couple of days.

Although she adamantly denies it, Janet Long has been given a not-so-gentle recommendation from her bosses at the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions to fish or cut bait about running for the County Commission.  Expect a decision from Long about whether she will run against Neil Brickfield in the upcoming weeks.

Far, far right-winger David McKalip, the local surgeon who made national headlines because of his forwarding of a racist email about Barack Obama, is threatening promising to run for the St. Pete City Council in 2013. Not surprisingly, McKalip has already handed his opponent a sledgehammer with which to bludgeon him.

In a post on his actually-interesting blog, McKalip weighed in on the controversy surrounding the redevelopment of the St. Petersburg Pier.  What was McKalip’s solution? He suggests that “the rights to the pier were sold to a private developer…”

I’m sure I don’t know what the best answer is for the St. Petersburg Pier, but I am also sure any candidate who suggests selling off the rights to The Pier is not going to make it far in city politics.

Every Democrat I talk to tells me Bill Nobles is dropping his challenge to Rep. Jeff Brandes for a seat in the Florida House.  Now, why would they say such things? Perhaps because Nobles raised a whopping $20 during the final quarter of 2011. What I can’t figure about that $20 is why Nobles even bothered to raise that; why not just raise nothing, submit a waiver and take the high-ground by claiming you’re not taking political contributions?

Pinellas Democrats have Alan Grayson slated to speak at their Kennedy King Dinner on March 10.  The theme of the dinner is “Democrats – serving our communities at the local level.”

The dinner will be co-chaired by Reps. Rick Kriseman and Darryl Rouson and Commissioner Ken Welch, and will honor the many Democrats that serve in their local city and town governments.

No official word yet, but Pinellas Republicans are said to have US Senator Marco Rubio slated as their keynote speaker for their Lincoln Day Dinner, the party’s annual major fundraiser.

Ken Welch had a decent campaign kick-off event last week.  The crowd really reflected Welch’s post-partisan persona with Chamber of Commerce folks mixing with activists from Midtown.  Even former Governor Charlie Crist was in the crowd, as was St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster (who sat down to chat with me and Michelle).

Be sure to read our conversation with County Commissioner Ken Welch here.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.