After running a couple of feel-good ads attempting to rebrand their candidate as hipper than he lets on, the Rick Baker campaign Thursday unleashed a thirty-second ad blasting incumbent St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman as incompetent.
The television ad criticizes the incumbent for going over budget on the Pier, spending too much on staff salaries, failing to clean up the debris generated from Hurricane Irma quickly enough, and of course, the sewage situation. It says that the mayor’s “incompetence” means fewer bike paths, playgrounds and scholarships for kids.
“Rick Kriseman might be the most incompetent mayor in America, and it’s hurting everyone,” the narrator intones at its conclusion.
The ad comes 26 days before St. Petersburg residents go to the polls, though voting by mail has been taking place for more than a week now in the race for mayor. Kriseman received 70 more votes than Baker in the Aug. 29 primary election, and the most recent St. Pete Polls survey has the race in a statistic dead heat.
The Kriseman camp dismissed the ad as “Trump-like.”
“This is just another Trump-like ad from an angry Rick Baker, who would rather talk about anything else besides climate change or sensible gun safety — issues that affect every person in St. Petersburg,” said Kriseman campaign manager Jacob Smith. “After nine years as mayor, Rick Baker left the city with a police department in chaos, no solutions on the Pier, no leadership on the Rays and a sewer system that was nine years older.”
Smith added: “Today, he has no plan for climate change or sea level rise. Rick Kriseman has moved St. Pete forward and taken strong stands on climate change and protecting our city from illegal guns. Voters approve of the job he’s doing, and they like where their city is going. They don’t want to go backward.”
See the ad below: