Is St. Pete’s mayoral race a preview of Rick Scott vs. Charlie Crist?

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With polls indicating that incumbent Bill Foster and former state Rep. Rick Kriseman are all but certain to face each other in the November run-off in St. Petersburg’s mayoral race, it may be time for the rest of the state to start paying attention.

First of all, regardless of who wins between Foster and Kriseman, the bluing of Tampa Bay continues, at least at the municipal level. Of the fifteen combined seats on St. Pete’s and Tampa’s city councils, after November, it’s likely that 13, perhaps 14, of them will be held by registered Democrats.

Second, assuming Amy Foster and Darden Rice go on to win their respective city council races, three of the eight members of the board will be openly gay.

More important than either of these statistics is how a race between Foster and Kriseman shapes up as a precursor to the gubernatorial race between Rick Scott and Charlie Crist.

On one side, you have an unpopular, but effective incumbent with much of the business community behind him. On the other side, you have an affable, populist progressive on the other.

Sound familiar?

I know, I know, Foster can’t self-fund like Scott could and Kriseman isn’t half the retail politician Crist is, but if you squint hard enough, you can see the similarity in St. Pete’s mayoral race to the 2014 gubernatorial race.

No wonder the state parties are expected to throw tens of thousands of dollars into St. Pete’s mayor’s race.

How goes St. Petersburg in 2013 could be how goes Florida goes in 2014.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, 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.