St. Pete City Council member Steve Kornell has drawn a challenger in the race for his District 5 seat. Former state House candidate Phillip Garrett began filing campaign documents with the City Clerk last week. He finished the paperwork Monday morning.
City Clerk Chandrahasa Srinivasa confirmed Garrett had completed the process.
The qualifying period for City Council candidates is today. Had no one filed to run against Kornell he would have won re-election.
Garrett formerly ran unsuccessfully against state Rep. Darryl Rouson in 2014 as a no-party affiliation candidate.
Garrett, as of the 2014 election, had worked for the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser for 15 years. He also serves on the executive board of the St. Petersburg NAACP and leads the group’s political action committee.
Garrett has a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Eckerd College in St. Pete. So does Kornell.
Garrett has been active in the community, recently attending open forums with elected officials. Most recently he spoke at one of the city’s budget listening tours where he lamented the high cost of insurance rates for city employees.
“Every time you give [city employees] 3-percent, the insurance eats it up,” Garrett said during a meeting last week where city employees came out in full force to ask for higher pay. The planned 3 percent pay increase, they argued, was a “slap in the face.”
Garrett faces a potential fundraising hurdle. Kornell has already raised more than $25,000.