#15 on the list of Tampa Bay’s most powerful politicians is Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch.
“Now that he has dropped his bid to be executive director of the Juvenile Welfare Board, I imagine more people are asking, no begging, Ken Welch to run for Mayor than any time since the 2009 election. In fact, there may be no politician more important to the future of St. Petersburg than Ken Welch. Welch could be the messiah for a black community yearning to break the bonds of the current political structure. Welch could be the answer to many urban liberals’ prayers for a progressive Mayor after 12 years of Republican leadership. Welch could be the savior to Rays fans looking to keep the baseball team on this side of the Bay. Welch could be all of this — and more — if he wants to wear the crown. Therein lies the dilemma: does Welch risk giving up a near-lifetime term on the Pinellas County Commission to challenge Bill Foster in 2013? Can Welch, the hope of so many, take a pass on destiny?” — Peter Schorsch
For a complete explanation of how this list was created and who comprised the panel which assembled it, please read here.