What Rays’ owner Stu Sternberg said in an interview on Rays opening day last week made us think about the 2013 St Petersburg election for Mayor next year. Here’s what he said:
Business people, he suggested, were the ones who would extract him from his current
standoff with St. Petersburg’s elected officials.
“You know, the political people, they come, they go. I’m into my second mayor now.”
He’s spoken with Foster a few times by phone since then, but Sternberg still
describes relations with St. Petersburg as lukewarm.
So let’s think about what he said for a minute: “political people” aren’t around for very long, business people will break the impasse, relations with St Pete are lukewarm.
Stu(or more appropriately the business people wanting a new Rays stadium in Tampa) could play a big role in next year’s election for Mayor of St Petersburg if they could find someone to back that would be willing to do a deal with the Rays’ current lease with the city.
During just two years in office, Bill Foster has given a potential challenger a lot of ammunition to use against him through his many stumbles as Mayor, and with current election laws allowing almost limitless anonymous donations to political groups, just a little money from people who have millions could launch a torrent of negative ads directed at Foster that could very well lose him the election. It also hurts Foster that the recently re-branded Tampa Bay Times is openly at war with him, and would be more than happy to see Foster leave office and the Rays move to Tampa.
So, the end result of Mayor Bill Foster’s treatment of the Rays could very well be the Rays leaving town before their lease is up, and Foster leaving office at the end of only one term.
Cross-posted with permission of Bob Wilson of the Bill Foster Watch.