Tuesday’s elections in St. Petersburg certainly provided a list of winners and losers, and I’m not just talking about candidates.
Here is my list of the real winners and losers coming out of Tuesday’s municipal elections for City Council.
- Between St. Petersburg and Tampa, there are a total of 15 City Council members. After last night, I believe there are only two registered Republicans (Leslie Curran and Bill Dudley) serving on either boards. The rest are either Democrats or Independents.
- An incumbent Democratic politician asked me recently who could be hired to help run a winning campaign. The question was out of frustration, because there are so few Democratic operatives working in Pinellas County. After last night's results, the answer to "Who should Democrats hire help run their campaigns?" has to include Johnny Bardine and Shari Hazlett, who piloted Charlie Gerdes' campaign to a decisive victory in District 1. They were backed up by the design team of MityMo.
- If, in fact, he is considering challenging Bill Foster in 2013, it doesn't hurt Rep. Rick Kriseman to have a new ally on the City Council. Also, many of those working and volunteering for Gerdes and Steve Kornell are the same people who would help Kriseman on his possible mayoral campaign. They didn't have heavy lifts, but credit goes to operatives Jeff Copeland, Mike Fox and Greg Wilson for helping Gerdes and/or Kornell.
- Four years ago, the St. Petersburg Firefighters made it a priority to get Bill Dudley and Wengay Newton elected to the City Council. This year, the Firefighters made it a priority to see them re-elected. Mission accomplished. Also making it a priority to see Dudley re-elected was County Commissioner Neil Brickfield.
- Billing itself as the "source for Tampa Bay politics news and discussion," the editors and writers of the St. Petersburg Times' Bay Buzzblog did not bother to post a single entry on their site about the elections taking place in the newspaper's hometown. Not. A. Single. Post. This has to be the most embarrassing day yet for the decrepit Bay Buzz blog, which, were it a horse, would be shot and put out of its misery.
- Bill Edwards drew public criticism for his hefty donation to Bob Kersteen's campaign. I actually defended Edward's, um, generosity. But it only made sense if Kersteen won, which he didn't.
- Corporate interests like Clear Channel and the Tampa Bay Rays have had or will have major issues before the City Council, yet they took no interest in electing the public officials who can impact their businesses.
- What does it say that Mayor Bill Foster could not be bothered with actually being in the city on Election Day? Instead he was wasting taxpayers' money in Takamatsu, Japan, taking part in the city's 50th Sister City anniversary with St. Petersburg, despite Foster not being able to "point to anything specific in relation to economic impact that has come of the relationship between the two cities." As for the candidates Foster supported - Gershom Faulkner and Bob Kersteen - both lost.
- I don't like calling my good friend Ed Montanari a "loser" but damn it, Ed, why didn't you run?
- Everyone of the winning candidates was supported by the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce. Of course, every one of the losing candidates was supported by the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce. That's right, the Chamber endorsed every candidate on the general election ballot. How bold! Now the Chamber can enjoy four more years of Wengay Newton voting against its priorities.
- Not to pile on, but the one Charter Amendment that was defeated was one of the three pushed by the Chamber, which waited until a week before the election to get involved in the elections, utilizing uber PR firm Tucker Hall to try to convince voters to support Amendments 1, 2 and 3. By that time, more than 12,000 ballots had already been cast. Chris Steinocher is a smart guy, but he needs to hire another smart guy to help him with the Chamber's political operations.