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St. Pete mayoral, council hopefuls to hold forums in July

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

In St. Petersburg, election season is well underway.

Over the next week or so, St. Pete voters will get a chance to hear directly from candidates running for mayor and city council.

Seven people are on the ballot for mayor: Incumbent Rick Kriseman, former two-term Mayor Rick Baker, Ernisa Barnwell, Anthony Cates, Paul Congemi, Theresa “Momma Tee” Lassiter and Jesse Nevel.

In Districts 2 and 4, there are two candidates each: Political newcomers Barclay Harless and Brandi Gabbard in District 2; first -term incumbent Darden Rice faces Jerick Johnston in District 4.

Eight candidates are running in District 6: Justin Beam, Robert Blackmon, Eritha Cainion, Gina Driscoll, Corey Givens, James Jackson, James Scott and Maria Scruggs.

Incumbent Amy Foster briefly had an opponent for her District 8 seat, who dropped out one day after filing after he discovered he did not live in the district. Once qualification ended, Foster was re-elected without opposition.

Primaries for both the mayor and District 6 seat is Aug. 29. If no one candidate gets 50 percent plus one of the vote – thereby winning the race outright — the two vote-getters will advance to the Nov. 7 general election, which will also include District 2 and 4 races.

All winners will serve a four-year. The mayor earns $180,895 annually; council members get $44,452 a year.

Three forums, each moderated by the League of Women Voters of St. Petersburg:

— Monday, July 10, there will be a City Council District 6 and Mayoral Candidate Forum sponsored by the Downtown Neighborhood Association at the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront Grand Bay South Ballroom, 333 First St. S. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the forum begins at 6:30 p.m.

The forum is in two segments, with the first featuring the eight candidates for the District 6 seat currently held by term-limited Council Member Karl Nurse. The second is for mayoral candidates.

Audience members can submit written questions.

— The second forum is Monday, July 17, sponsored by the city of St. Petersburg the St. Petersburg City Hall, 175 Fifth St. N. The event is open to the public and will feature candidates in Districts 2, 4, and 6. Doors open to the public at 6 p.m.; forum begins at 6:30 p.m.

— The third public event — for mayoral candidates — is the following day, Tuesday, July 18, and also sponsored by the city of St. Petersburg at St. Petersburg City Hall. Doors open to the public at 6 p.m.; forum begins at 6:30 p.m.

StPeteTV, the city’s government-access channel, will televise both the July 17 and 18 forums — on Spectrum Channel 641, Wow! Channel 15, and Frontier Channel 20, and on the city’s website, the channels will also rebroadcast the events, and they can also be viewed on the city’s YouTube channel.


Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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