Rick Vs. Rick: St. Pete Mayor\'s Race Greatest Hits Clickbait Edition

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

entered 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.

> SUNSHINE CITY SHOWDOWN: Keep up with the Tampa Bay Times coverage of the St. Petersburg mayoral race


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).

The early days of the mayoral campaign saw other candidates > take center stage

and even > go viral


In July, the two Ricks met with the Tampa Bay Times editorial board. Kriseman said his > management style

was 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

, 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."

> KNOW YOUR CANDIDATE: Kriseman vs. Baker

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.

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

sponsored 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

in 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

, 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.

Kriseman found himself facing more bad news as the primary approached. First, residents got their first glimpse at the > higher utility bills

headed their way as a result of the sewage crisis. And in late August, Kriseman's pick to revive the historic Manhattan Casino > angered

> many

in 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

Kriseman on Aug. 6.

Then on Aug. 25 former > President Barack Obama

endorsed him.

Then came the Aug. 29 primary: Kriseman edged Baker by just a > 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?

The two Ricks then got the chance to > rekindle their rivalry

for 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.


> Rick vs. Rick: Closing Albert Whitted sewage plant could impact St. Petersburg mayor's race (May 29, 2017)

> Rick vs. Rick: Which St. Petersburg mayor paid the highest salaries at City Hall? (June 12, 2017)

> Next big fight in St. Petersburg's mayoral race: the science and politics of climate change (June 16, 2017)

> Only one Rick will march in St. Pete Pride (June 22, 2017)

> Rick vs. Rick: St. Petersburg sewage crisis edition (June 24, 2017)

> Baker fought recycling in St. Pete, Kriseman embraced it. Will it matter in mayor's race? (July 29, 2017)

> Rick vs. Rick vs. Irma: How to run for mayor during a hurricane (Sept. 19, 2017)

Source : http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/elections/rick-vs-rick-st-pete-mayors-race-greatest-hits-clickbait-edition/2340345

Rick vs. Rick: St. Pete Mayor's Race Greatest Hits Clickbait Edition
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