“Since moving to Saint Petersburg more than two decades ago, Sharon Russ quickly earned a reputation as an outspoken activist, chastising city leaders for being too lax on crime, demanding housing for the homeless and criticizing the city’s cozy network of political elites and business leaders at community forums and meetings across Pinellas County,” reads a profile of Russ published in 2009.
It appears Russ will have the opportunity to burnish her reputation for outspokenness in 2013.
Today, Russ filed to run for District 6 on the St. Petersburg City Council. The seat is currently occupied by Karl Nurse.
District 6 is also one of the city’s near-majority minority seats that has traditionally elected an African American to the seat. This tradition was, for the better, broken when Nurse was appointed and then elected to represent the district.
A Nurse versus Russ campaign would certainly present a study in contrasts. Nurse is a progressive Democrat, while Russ is a rare black Republican woman. Nurse is a soft-spoken public intellectual, Russ is, as the Times described, an outspoken activist. Nurse is a multi-millionaire small business owner. Russ, according to the financial disclosure forms, has struggled to find work and pay her bills.
Candidates for City Council must first finish in the top two within their district in the primary before advancing to the citywide general election in November.