Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Foster edges Kriseman by just 867 votes, while the Lens is history

Kathleen Ford crashed and burned at the end, getting just 19 percent of the vote.

Posted By on Tue, Aug 27, 2013 at 11:43 PM

We got over 40% Bill Foster told supporters at Midtown Sundries on Tuesday night
  • Kevin Tighe
  • "We got over 40%," Bill Foster told supporters at Midtown Sundries on Tuesday night
There were no real surprises at all in Tuesday night's St. Petersburg primary election (with the possible exception that it will be Carolyn Fries, and not David McKalip, who will face Darden Rice in the District 4 City Council race before the entire city in November). But there is this: More than 59 percent of St. Petersburg registered voters who cast a ballot chose a mayoral candidate whose name wasn't Bill Foster.

Foster took 41 percent of the vote to Rick Kriseman's 39 percent, a gap of just 867 votes. And original front-runner Kathleen Ford finished well back of the pack, getting just 19 percent of the vote.

Kriseman ended his speech at the Palladium Theater by saying, "There is a lot of work to be done, a lot of people are ready for change. And with your help, I’ll deliver it."

No doubt Foster has his work cut out for him. In comments made to this reporter after he addressed his supporters at Midtown Sundries Sports Bar on First Avenue South, the mayor said he'll continue to hammer Kriseman for the fact that the former Tallahassee legislator has received 75 percent of his campaign donations from outside of St. Petersburg. "I think people need to know, they need to know who's behind what, and who’s trying to buy favor where, so yes, 75 percent came from out of the area and special interests. I think that’s a fact that voters need to pick apart and figure out why."

Kriseman campaign adviser Kevin King says Foster's in trouble.

"No matter what happens tonight, a majority of the people in this city are going to be opposed to the mayor," he told CL before the final vote had come in.

One question several observers discussed on Tuesday night was, What will that other Rick do? That being former Mayor Rick Baker, who, like Foster, is a Republican. Baker was silent during the primary election about which candidate he supports. Foster could use his support. Will Baker give it to him?

Regarding the Lens, there was no real drama to the evening. Polls released throughout the campaign by St.Pete Polls consistently showed the Lens losing by at least 20 percentage points, but the end result was much worse for fans of the Michael Maltzan design. The final tally was 63-37 percent, a 26-point blowout.

Bill Ballard of the anti-Lens Concerned Citizens of St. Petersburg said, "We want to see some creative market research used to present ideas to the public, and get scientific polling of all of the public. Then we just don’t learn what the vocal people are thinking, but what the quiet majority are thinking, and help that guide the city with respect to planning the waterfront and the Pier."

Michael Maltzan's partner in St. Petersburg, architect Lisa Wannemacher, was taking condolence hugs at the Birchwood Tuesday night. "It’s going to be very challenging to come together as a community now and figure out what comes next," she told CL (we'll have more on Wannemacher's comments in an upcoming post).

In the three City Council races, the only surprise as mentioned above was Carolyn Fries, who received 169 more votes than David McKalip in the District 4 race. Darden Rice took 46 percent of the vote to Fries' 26 percent. McKalip got 23 percent. Richard Eldridge received 5 percent.

St. Pete has this crazy system in which the council candidates run in a primary exclusively in the district they represent, with the top two finishers then running citywide in November. This seems like a huge waste of money when those primary winners take the majority of the vote, but whatever.

In District 6, Karl Nurse walloped Sharon Russ and Trevor Mallory. Nurse got 69 percent of the vote, Sharon Russ 19 percent and Mallory received 12 percent. But Nurse and Russ move on to November.

And in the District 8 race, Amy Foster took 56 percent of the vote, Steve Galvin 18 percent. Alex Duensing gets 16 percent and Robert J. Davis 10 percent.

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