Kersteen, a conservative Republican, was first elected to the council in 1995. He resigned in 2000 to run for the state House, but lost to Charlie Justice. Though he served as a volunteer for over two dozen community organizations, he always yearned to return to the council, but was never successful. He missed out on being appointed to the board when Rick Kriseman left in 2006, and lost to Herb Polson in 2007. He also lost his first bid for council in 1991.
Kersteen tried again two years ago for the District 1 seat representing West St. Pete. That was the first time that this reporter got to know the then 73-year-old.
Kersteen was endorsed by fellow Republican Bill Foster in his battle against Charlie Gerdes in November of 2011, telling CL at the time that his close association with the mayor would give him an edge if elected to the board. Unfortunately for Kersteen, he came up short against Democrat Charlie Gerdes.
On his Facebook page yesterday, Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch noted Kersteen's death, writing, "I'm saddened to learn of his passing. Bob was a committed public servant, and will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family tonight."
Mayor Foster tells today's Tampa Bay Times that Kersteen was "an old-school statesman."