The St. Petersburg mayoral race continues after all candidates failed to win a majority in the election on Tuesday, August 29th.
Incumbent Rick Kriseman received 48 percent of the vote, while his opponent, former mayor Rick Baker, received 49 percent, reports Janelle Irwin in the Tampa Bay Business Journal.
During his time in office, Kriseman advocated for the LGBTQ+ community, and in 2014 he became the first St. Petersburg mayor to march in the St. Pete Pride Parade.
He also officiated a wedding between two men in City Hall and created an official position to facilitate communication between the city government and the LGBTQ+ community.
Kriseman criticized his opponent for his lack of visible support towards the LGBTQ+ community. Baker claims he does support the community.
However, LGBTQ+ advocate Susan McGrath denounced Baker when he first launched his campaign, stating, “the Baker Administration was arguably the most un-welcoming and repressive in our city’s history.”
Kriseman’s standing in the polls was severely affected by the city’s recent sewage crisis, in which heavy rainfall forced the city to dump approximately 200 million gallons of sewage into local waterways.
It was later determined that Kriseman’s government should have been able to foresee potential problems.
The candidates will participate in a runoff election in November.
Read the Tampa Bay Business Journal article here.