St Pete voters choose from 10 mayoral candidates in primary

09/01/09 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday | Listen to this entire show:


The crowded race for St. Petersburg Mayor will get much slimmer by the end of today. City residents who had not yet voted by mail are choosing among ten candidates in the primary election.

A slow trickle of voters braved a light but steady rain to select who should replace term-limited Mayor Rick Baker. Former City Council member Bill Foster was the choice of many voters in the Snell Isle precinct located at St. Raphael’s Catholic Church. That includes Snell Isle resident Larry Wallace, who says the St. Petersburg Times’ endorsement of Foster was not a consideration.

Mayoral candidates Larry Williams and Kathleen Ford – both former member of City Council - and current Council member Jamie Bennett had supporters in Snell Isle.

In south St. Petersburg’s Midtown area, most of the voters who would speak with WMNF about their mayoral preference had selected Deveron Gibbons. Gibbons is a public relations executive with the payday loan company Amscot, and the only African-American in the race.

A woman at the same polling location who also wished to remain anonymous voted for current City Council member Jamie Bennett.

The St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club on Mirror Lake Drive houses three downtown precincts. Several people said they voted for former City Council member Kathleen Ford.

At that downtown polling location, Ford and two of her campaign volunteers greeted voters.

Supporters of a wide range of candidates, including Bill Foster, voted at the Shuffleboard Club. Downtown resident Bob Nevins says he voted for Ed Helm, who was the runner-up to Rick Baker in the 2005 general election. Helm was endorsed on Monday by Ohio member of Congress Dennis Kucinich.

Businessman Scott Wagman is a newcomer to politics and was supported by downtown voter Eunice Fisher. A woman in downtown who chose not to give her name says she supports Wagman because he represents “new blood.”

Unless one candidate receives more than fifty percent of the votes, the top two finishers will face off in the November 3rd general election. Precincts are open until 7pm tonight.

Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections

previous WMNF coverage of the St. Pete mayoral race

WMNF coverage of Ed Helm endorsed by Dennis Kucinich

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