St. Pete Chamber straw poll shows blowouts in all but one City Council race

Trenia Cox leads Deborah Figgs-Sanders, but it's a race.

Results from a St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce straw poll Thursday night echo expectations for St. Pete City Council races on the Nov. 5 ballot.

The results show only one competitive race among the four seats up for election this year.

District 5 candidates Trenia Cox and Deborah Figgs-Sanders are in a close race, with Cox having the edge 53-47 percent. That’s a slightly larger lead than Cox had in the August 27 primary when she took the No. 1 spot in a five-way race. She earned 35 percent of the vote in that election. Figgs-Sanders came in second with 30 percent of the vote.

Cox and Sanders are running to replace Steve Kornell in the south St. Pete District 5 seat. Kornell is leaving office due to term limits.

The straw poll represents a small sampling of St. Pete voters. It was taken during a chamber “popcorn and politics” networking event in which candidates take on a sort of speed dating style of interviews with voters.

The chamber estimates about 60 people participated in the poll with more than half being chamber members.

Three other races on the ballot showed runaway favorites in the straw poll. Two of those three races include popular incumbents.

District 1 in west St. Pete is an open race between Robert Blackmon and John Hornbeck to replace term-limited Council Chair Charlie Gerdes. Blackmon walked away with more than two thirds of the vote. Hornbeck received just 23 percent.

That race could become more competitive in the less than six months left in the race if Hornbeck manages to step us his campaign strategy. This week he hired an experienced consultant to give his struggling campaign a boost. It might become more clear next week whether that is working when the next round of campaign finance reports are released.

District 3 includes parts of northeast St. Pete. Ed Montanari is running for reelection against Orlando Acosta. Acosta only managed to draw 26 percent of the straw poll results with Montanari claiming nearly two-thirds.

District 7 was the biggest blowout of the night. Incumbent Lisa Wheeler-Bowman received 81 percent of the vote while her challenger, Eritha “Akile” Cainion, only received 19 percent.

District 7 includes parts of south St. Pete including the 22nd Street South corridor. Cainion is running on what many voters view as an extreme platform of reduced police presence, reparations for African American residents and economic development that includes affordable and workforce housing, but not gentrification.

Wheeler-Bowman has been a popular incumbent after a hard-earned victory four years ago. She became a prominent figure in the community after fighting to uncover her son’s murderer by breaking down the community’s long-held “no-snitch” culture.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].


  • Jim Donelon

    September 27, 2019 at 6:17 pm

    Janell, there are ONLY 6 weeks left in the campaign, NOT 6 months.
    Akelia’ getting 19 % from these right wing chamber folks show she is on to something.

  • gary lopez

    September 27, 2019 at 7:20 pm

    Any vote for a Democrat, is a vote for a failed city! Look around America. Every state, and every city ran by Democrats for more than a few years turns to high crime a fiscal shortfalls followed up by high unemployment and high crime!

    Chicago! Detroit! LA! San Fransiko! NJ! CA! Portland! ………………

    • Mary

      September 30, 2019 at 2:53 am

      We are in a ANTI-Christian coup. The goal is get rid of christians and Christian sympathizers in politics. The anti christ is getting ready to take his reign. The problem is some republican leaders are in on it and are making christians believe everything is good when there are major plans for harm.

Comments are closed.


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