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Baker, Kriseman Headed for Runoff in November

August 29, 2017 - 7:45pm
Rick Baker and Rick Kriseman
Rick Baker and Rick Kriseman

Former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker and current Mayor Rick Kriseman apparently aren't finished duking it out as voters virtually split their decision on which of them should lead the Tampa Bay city next term.

Voters sent the two Ricks into a November runoff Tuesday, when neither candidate reached the necessary 50 percent or more of the vote. 

Baker took a little over 48 percent while Kriseman, the incumbent, also took a little over 48 percent of the vote.

Kriseman largely overperformed expectations Tuesday. He was initially speculated to trail Baker by 7 to 8 points, but ended up finishing 69 votes ahead of the former mayor.   

Baker's lead shrank as the results poured in, dwindling below 49 percent, just one point shy of the 50 percent park. 

In the end, only .12 percent separated the two candidates, with Kriseman taking a slight lead.

Despite the need to head to a November runoff, Baker said he was just getting started. 

"I'm having too much fun," he said. "I think that we have two more months and we're going to run those two more months hard all the way to the finish line and we're going to communicate to everybody in our community our message that St. Pete is going to be best if it's brought together as one city."

Despite not being a partisan race technically, Kriseman had significant help from the Democratic Party in recent weeks, which helped propel his campaign forward leading up to Tuesday

At the eleventh hour, President Barack Obama endorsed Kriseman, calling him the "only choice" for continued progress in St. Petersburg. 

“As mayor of St. Petersburg, Rick Kriseman has taken on big challenges to move St. Pete forward,” Obama said in a news release. “From raising the minimum wage and fighting for equality, to bold leadership on climate change, Rick was a great ally on the priorities of my administration."

Nearly 80,000 voters in St. Petersburg are registered Democrats, while a little over 47,000 are registered Republicans. 

The Florida Democratic Party accredited Baker's performance with an "adherence" to President Donald Trump's "harmful" agenda.

"Under the Trump White House, we can't afford Republicans like Rick Baker who are complicit in every harmful policy this President enacts," said FDP spokesperson Johanna Cervone. "Baker will never challenge Donald Trump because he would lose the support of the GOP special interests that fund his campaign."

Cervone said Kriseman's reputation as a strong progressive was what helped push his numbers on Election Day. 

"It's why Democrats like President Obama endorsed the mayor," she said. 


This is a developing story. Check back for updates. 



Reach reporter Allison Nielsen by email at or follow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen.



fake news and fake polls...

If there are 80,000 registered DEMs and only 47,000 registered GOPs ... then it would seem to me that Kriseman is definitely in trouble. (?)

Kriseman is a SJW and a fraud!

Mayor Kriseman has technically finished ahead now of Former Mayor Baker. I can't get over that. Whether he finished ahead or 100 votes behind at this juncture, his campaign was being written off, especially after the sewage controversy. Nancy and Allison do you think part of the anger with the Trump Presidency had something to do with it and the Republican label not polling as well in some parts since the party is in charge (although the race was technically non-partisan)? Do you think the Democrats are finally starting to get their act together in terms of campaigning? Might we see the Dems pull ahead in SD40 at this rate? Could be.

Kriseman record is so poor that with 80k registered democratic voters and an endorsement by Obama he still couldn't beat Baker!

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