The week that was in Tampa Bay politics: ‘Next week’

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Let’s face facts: it is awfully tough to talk about last week and politics in this area without an eye — maybe both eyes — looking forward to next week. Tuesday is Election Day, and if you’re in St. Petersburg and are not one of the 27,135 who mailed in their ballot (as of 5:00 pm Saturday), please be sure to go vote. Whether you support Rick Kriseman or Bill Foster, make your voice heard.

And by all means, do not forget about those important City Council races. Those are folks are running to represent your interest before the city. 

Here’s a little lesson in political calendrics: as campaigns move closer to Election Day, the calendar grows both shorter and longer.

What does that mean? It means that as you and your candidate get closer to Election Day, you necessarily have less time to do things in a campaign. That part makes perfect sense. But what makes less sense is the idea that as things pass in the world of politics, the time it takes for them to lose relevance is a lot less, too. In other words, the beginning of last week was a long time ago in politics. It may as well have been a lifetime.

On Sunday and Monday, everyone was talking about the Times poll showing that a majority of St. Petersburg residents don’t approve of red light cameras. Don’t get me wrong: it’s a fascinating poll, and the Kameel Stanley piece is worth a read. But my guess is that the Kriseman team and those running for City Council hit “print” on that article, filed it away, and are saving this one for after January, when they’re all sworn in.

Like the red light cameras, the issue of where the Tampa Bay Rays are going to be (sooner or later) has driven this election cycle. It was also interesting to see residents in St. Pete finally come to terms with letting the Rays organization look at moving to Tampa.

Of course, that was Monday, and the St. Louis Cardinals — the team I grew up knowing, watching some — still had a shot in the World Series. They’d lose out to the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday.

We also learned on Monday that the race for Mayor of St. Petersburg will be the costliest in history. I say we “learned” it — it is a wholly unsurprising piece of news. I think it under-girds the point I made earlier in the week about the professionalization of campaigns in this area. The days of the easy campaign are, for the most part, over. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether that’s a bad thing or a good thing.  

Wednesday was a big-news day. Alex Sink got into the special-election race for the 13th Congressional District seat. This also wasn’t a big surprise. And — remembering our lesson about how time works in politics — it already seems like old news in the wake of the news this weekend that former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker would not run for the seat on the Republican side. Baker was the only one with a real shot against Sink in this special election, the primary of which is scheduled for January, the general in March. 

For me, an under-appreciated story amid the noise of the Congressional speculation and the Crist for Governor roll-out, was that support for light rail grew. Good news for the Greenlight Pinellas crew. This important transportation story was made bigger with the Florida Department of Transportation secretary committed to a light rail sub-structure as part of the Howard Frankland Bridge upgrade.

Stories like that are a good reminder that elections are exciting — but they do end. And for all the talk of 2014, it’s still relatively far away. We have some issues to sort through, and in Pinellas County and Tampa Bay, transportation is a big one.

For us, Halloween with the kids was an awful lot of fun and I managed to forget about politics for all of about thirty seconds. Shh, don’t tell Peter.

In a sign he is on the ropes, there was a story about Bill Foster hititing hard in mayoral race on Friday.

The political news on Friday turned out to focus directly on this blog. The Republican Party of Florida, for reasons I still do not understand and may never, wrote a memorandum to national media outlets warning them of Peter and this blog.I like to say that I do not understand how Republicans operate, and this is exactly why. The story made the rounds in state-wide media, and I am not privy to the metrics, but I imagine that thanks to the RPOF, there will be a lot more eyes on this blog next week than there might have been otherwise.

Next week it all starts with Charlie Crist, announcing his run for governor. Tuesday will be Election Night, and you can bet that’ll be exciting.

That’s Monday and Tuesday. Just think where we’ll be this time next week.