Any remaining doubts that national partisan politics are playing a big role in the St. Petersburg mayoral race have been answered.
On Friday, the Florida Democratic Party debuted “Sunshine Vision,” a new ad highlighting the progress made by incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and his “bold leadership” for St. Petersburg.
Kriseman faces former two-term Mayor Rick Baker, a Republican, in the traditionally nonpartisan contest.
“The world is changing, getting angry,” the ad says while angry images of Baker and President Donald Trump float over a backdrop of storm winds, “and so is our climate.”
Democrats have gone to great lengths in the campaign to link Baker and Trump, capitalizing on the former mayor’s refusal to say if he supported the president — who is unpopular with many St. Petersburg voters — in the 2016 election.
“We have seen our share of storms in St. Pete,” Kriseman says on camera, “but we remain a beacon of progress. And we keep moving forward.”
The 30-second spot notes how the Kriseman is tackling issues such as climate change, crime, poverty and “worked hard to drive economic growth in every part of St. Petersburg.”
It also touts Kriseman’s endorsements by the Suncoast Sierra Club, the Police Benevolent Association, and former president Barack Obama.
“Mayor Rick Kriseman isn’t afraid to tackle the big challenges facing St. Petersburg, and his accomplishments speak for themselves,” FDP representative Amir Avin said in a statement. Crime and poverty are on the decline, and the city is tackling climate change head-on for the first time in its history. And unlike Rick Baker, when it comes to St. Petersburg, there’s no one Mayor Kriseman won’t stand up to — including Donald Trump.”
Avin also notes that Bakers is a “longtime right-wing conservative who campaigned hard for Tea Party darling Sarah Palin,” and took contributions from “GOP mega-donors and top Trump supporters” like Gov. Rick Scott and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, currently a Republican candidate for governor.
The FDP also points out how Kriseman “outperformed every public poll” in the race — with the newest polling showing him slightly ahead of Baker — and winning the August primary despite being outspent.
“Sunshine Vision” is also available on YouTube.