ST. PETERSBURG — The Sunshine City? More like Showdown City.
This year's mayoral election has been a barn burner ever since former > Mayor Rick Baker
> Mayor Rick Bakerentered the ring on May 8 and challenged incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman.
It was the first time a former mayor had challenged a sitting mayor in the strong mayor era.
Baker shot out of the gate this summer, berating Kriseman on the stump and beating him in fundraising in a bid to unseat the incumbent in the Aug. 29 primary. All it would take is winning more than 50 percent of the vote (albeit in a primary race with four other candidates).
In July, the two Ricks met with the Tampa Bay Times editorial board. Kriseman said his > management style
> management stylewas his advantage over his rival mayor.
"Big difference, Kriseman said. "Big difference in leadership style.
"I'm not a micromanager. I don't try and manage by intimidation or fear."
Baker, who said he would > get the city back on track
> get the city back on track, parried that charge. He said he's both a big-picture and detail-oriented kind of mayor.
"I know I've been called a micromanager, but I'm a detail guy," Baker said. "I don't just hover at 30,000 feet and never come down."
Then on July 21, the Times wrote that a draft state report placed much of the blame for St. Petersburg's 2015-16 sewage crisis, in which the city released up to 200 million gallons of waste into local waterways, on the > Kriseman administration.
> Kriseman administration.Baker pounced, even though the same report said the city's problems go back years, even back to his 2001-10 administration.
That set the stage for their big TV debut on July 25, a > live debate
> live debatesponsored by the Times and Bay News 9.
Kriseman touted the progress the city has made since his 2010 election.
"This city has come a long way in four years," the incumbent mayor said.
His rival said that Kriseman has actually stalled the progress that Baker made when he served as mayor, citing issues with the sewage system and an expensive pier project.
"I think we're going in a direction with a broken sewer system and a pier and huge over-spending and over-budgeting that we just can't afford," Baker said. "I will fix all that."
But during the debate, Baker > revived a painful chapter
> revived a painful chapterin city history, when a top city official was fired for refusing to attend the funerals of a slain police officer in 2011.
During the campaign, Baker challenged Kriseman in a traditional Democratic stronghold: > the black community
> the black community, where he had built strong ties during his time as mayor from 2001-10.
Kriseman, in turn, nationalized what is traditionally a non-partisan race by tying Baker, a Republican, to national GOP politics and the most famous Republican of all: > President Donald Trump.
> President Donald Trump.
Kriseman found himself facing more bad news as the primary approached. First, residents got their first glimpse at the > higher utility bills > angered > many
> higher utility billsheaded their way as a result of the sewage crisis. And in late August, Kriseman's pick to revive the historic Manhattan Casino
> manyin the black community.
But then in the weeks leading up to the primary, Kriseman received two important endorsements. Influential St. Petersburg Pastor Louis Murphy announced he was > backing
> backingKriseman on Aug. 6.
Then on Aug. 25 former > President Barack Obama
> President Barack Obamaendorsed him.
Then came the Aug. 29 primary: Kriseman edged Baker by just a > few dozen votes
> few dozen votes, despite trailing in fundraising and the polls throughout the summer.
The race would go on to November.
Except Hurricane Irma hit the snooze button on the mayor's race for the first two weeks of September. The city was fortunate to escape the storm with just widespread power loss and downed trees. But Irma left both candidates with the same problem: > How do you run for mayor during a hurricane?
> How do you run for mayor during a hurricane?
The two Ricks then got the chance to > rekindle their rivalry
> rekindle their rivalryfor the home stretch at the Sept. 26. debate.
Mail ballots went out Oct. 3, the same day a new poll found Rick vs. Rick was > neck-and-neck
Stay tuned for the next chapter in the ongoing saga of Rick vs. Rick.
Election Day is Nov. 7.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: RICK VS. RICK, COMPARING THE TWO MAYORS
Source : http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/elections/rick-vs-rick-st-pete-mayors-race-greatest-hits-clickbait-edition/2340345