Rick Baker will take endorsements from a squad of ex-mayors over those from out-of-town politicos.
The comments from the former two-term mayor came after Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum was the latest prominent Democrat to stump for incumbent Rick Kriseman during the final weekend of the city’s mayoral race.
“I honestly don’t think that’s going to help him,” Baker told reporters Saturday afternoon at a campaign office on 4th Street North where volunteers made phone calls on his behalf.
Last week, both former San Antonio Mayor and HUD Secretary Julian Castro and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley stumped for Kriseman; New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker also recorded a robocall for his fellow Democrat.
“I don’t think most people even know who these people are,” Baker said. “But I tell you who they do know – the former mayors of this city – and I’m proud that I’ve got every living former mayor of our city that’s endorsed my campaign.”
Former St. Petersburg mayors Don Jones, Bob Ulrich, Dave Fischer and Bill Foster have each endorsed Baker.
Baker believes it might be the first time in St. Pete history when every living former mayor has backed the challenger against an incumbent. It shows their confidence in his leadership, he added, and what they think of the current leadership in City Hall.
“I will take the people [who] have lived here and worked here to build our city,” Baker said, “over politicians coming from outside the state.”
At his campaign event with Gillum, Kriseman said he feared some of his achievements as mayor could be dismantled if Baker defeats him Tuesday.
Baker didn’t disagree, citing a number of issues from Kriseman’s record that he said he’ll happily repeal if elected.
“If his accomplishments are closing a sewage plant and dumping 200 million gallons of sewage into the bay, yes, I intend to reverse that,” he said.
“If his accomplishments are giving us a Pier design that nobody in the community wants and building concrete buildings on a waterfront park, I’m going to do everything I can to reverse that,” Baker promised. “If our accomplishments are letting our grocery store go and our Manhattan Casino to close, I intend to reverse that as well.”
“If accomplishments of letting our schools go down, yeah, I intend to reverse that.”
The former mayor had two more picnics to attend Saturday. On Sunday, Baker will visit at least half a dozen different churches.
(Photo: Kim DeFalco.)