A personal appeal from Progress Florida head Mark Ferrulo was sent out to the organization’s mailing list Tuesday, urging St. Petersburg voters to cast their ballots for incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman.
“I’m writing you today, not only as the director of Progress Florida, but as someone raised and living in St. Petersburg with a strong love for the Sunshine City. I’m reaching out because nothing less than the future of our community is at stake [emphasis in original] in the upcoming mayoral election,” Ferrulo wrote.
Ferrulo highlighted Kriseman’s $300 million infrastructure plan, the new curbside recycling system, his stance on LGBTQ equality, his proposed “Defend our Democracy” ordinance to abolish super PACs and cap corporate money in local elections, and his pledge to shift St. Pete to 100 percent clean energy.
Ferrulo even touted the 100 percent rating Kriseman received from his progressive organization, which has twice selected the first-term mayor for its “Middle Class Champion” Award.
“Mayor Kriseman has been fighting for St. Pete residents’ best interests from City Hall to the State Capitol for well over a decade and he has done so with a firm grasp of the issues, a passion for improving our neighborhoods, and a bold leadership style demonstrating his willingness to tackle tough problems,” he wrote.
The Progress Florida director’s impassioned plea comes as recent poll numbers show Kriseman with about 39 percent support among the six candidates on the ballot in the Aug. 29 primary, and 7 points behind former Mayor Rick Baker.
That 7-point lead has been solid over time, and though Kriseman saw a slight uptick in the poll, it came after a heap of negative coverage painted the Kriseman administration as mishandling last year’s sewage crisis and one week after the Tampa Bay Times shocked St. Pete politicos by eschewing its left-leaning slant to endorse Baker in the race.
Though Baker’s chances of hitting the 50-percent-plus-one threshold to win outright in the primary have dwindled, the Kriseman camp could use help from organizations like Ferrulo’s in the closing days of the primary campaign.
From improving our neighborhood schools to safeguarding our environment, from advocating for quality jobs and consumer protections to championing equality, Rick Kriseman has demonstrated his passion for moving our city forward and will continue to be the type of mayor the great city of St. Petersburg deserves,” Ferrulo said. “Please join me in voting to re-elect Mayor Kriseman [emphasis in original].”