Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Dems Open 2021 Door for GOP Mayor in St. Pete

Tampa, Fl
Tampa Bay Beat
By: Jim Bleyer
By Jim Bleyer
An ordinarily innocuous St. Petersburg City Council race has roiled local politics and become a key bellwether as to who will be the next mayor of Florida’s fifth largest city.
The race to succeed term-limited Rick Kriseman as St. Petersburg mayor is two years away but political machinations suddenly opened the door for a Republican to capture the mayoralty in this Democratic stronghold in 2021.
John Hornbeck

Robert Blackburn

It started July 1 with a monumental gaffe by a political pro who should know better.
City Council member Darden Rice, an historic progressive who has made no secret of her mayoral aspirations, endorsed Republican Robert Blackmon over Democrat John Hornbeck in this fall’s District 1 council race.
Rice’s action turned off many local Democrats.  Though the city races are technically “non-partisan,” party politics always comes into play here.
Shortly after the endorsement, a Rice confidante told Tampa Bay Beat her action was “a no-brainer.”  As it turns out, supporting Blackmon, who can be described as more than a nominal Republican, over Hornbeck has thrust Rice into a controversy of her own making.
Until Rice’s endorsement, the most controversial issue in the council race was the question of Blackmon’s residency.  Hornbeck and others claimed he did not reside within District 1. Blackmon declared the matter closed with a home sale and his subsequent address.  The point remains murky.
Rice was the early favorite to succeed Kriseman but no more. She alienated a significant portion of the Democratic base regardless of the District 1 result on November 5.  The more astute move: no endorsement whatsoever.  Inarguable.  
Darden Rice
 Blackmon told Sunshine State News unequivocally there was no quid pro for the endorsement. 
“There was absolutely no deals made. And, importantly, we do not know who will be running for mayor in 2021,” Blackmon asserted. 

Then why would Rice take the risk? 

Read the rest of the Post here: 

Cross Posted with permission from: Tampa Bay Beat
 This post is contributed by Tampa Bay Beat. The views and opinions expressed in this post are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of Bay Post Internet or the publisher.

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