USFSP hosts St. Pete mayor forum Thursday

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Candidates for St. Petersburg Mayor will once again plead their cases to voters Thursday in a forum sponsored by the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

The debate begins 6 p.m. at City Hall Council Chambers, 175 Fifth St. N.

All five candidates for mayor will be at the forum: incumbent Bill Foster, former City Council Member and State Rep. Rick Kriseman, attorney Kathleen Ford, community activist Anthony Cates and homeless advocate Paul Congemi.

Moderated by Professor Frank Biafora, the USFSP Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, candidates will answer pre-screened questions submitted by the university’s students of governmental studies.

In the most recent StPetePolls survey, Foster leads the pack going into the primary with 32.8 percent, followed by Kriseman with 28.7 points. Ford dropped to third with 23.9 percent. More than 14 percent are undecided.  

The forum is available to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.  StPeteTV/WSPF-TV will broadcast the event on  Bright House Cable on Channel 615, Knology Cable on Channel 15 and Verizon FiOS Channel 20 and will be replayed until the Aug. 27 Primary Election.

Thursday’s debate will also stream live online at, and then archived on the city’s YouTube page.

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 and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.