St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman is tossing around the idea of a potential run for Florida’s 13th Congressional District — a seat being vacated by incumbent Charlie Crist, who jumped into the 2022 gubernatorial contest last week.
Kriseman, who is leaving his current office beause of term limits, told Florida Politics he is considering a run for CD 13.
“I have not ruled out the possibility of running,” he said. “My focus has been on the city and the issues we’re dealing with coming out of the pandemic, but, having said that, I know that the seat will be open, and I am terming out, and so it’s on my radar.”
Kriseman would be the third Democratic candidate to enter what is expected to be one of the most hotly contested races in the upcoming election season.
Kriseman would also be up against Eric Lynn, a former national security adviser in President Barack Obama’s administration, who announced his campaign last week.
The race also includes Anna Paulina Luna, who also joined last week. The GOP firebrand — who gave Crist a run for his money last year — ran, among other things, as a pro-cop candidate who took every available opportunity to bash Crist as socialist and anti-law enforcement.
Kriseman became Mayor of St. Pete in 2014 and was reelected in 2017. Now, facing term limits, he has several considerations on where he goes next.
“I have to have a long conversation with my family,” Kriseman said. “What I’ll really consider, whether I think that it’s a job in a position where I can make a difference and have influence, and hopefully have a positive impact. To me, if I’m going to serve at any capacity, that’s the whole purpose for service.”
In September, Kriseman offered a sarcastic response to DeSantis’ decision to go into Phase 3 of the state reopening, which allowed businesses to reopen fully. Kriseman quipped that COVID-19 was “exactly” what Florida residents “need him to focus on.”
Kriseman’s fostered a locally regulated response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including a mask mandate, strict social distancing requirements, and other mitigation efforts. He also made clear his goal: get the city’s positivity rate down to 5%.
The mitigation efforts appeared to affect the spread of the virus in the region, with Pinellas County often reporting fewer COVID-19 cases than other densely populated Florida counties, likely earning him bonus points with Democratic voters in the region.
He has also been vocal on national issues.
In January, Kriseman didn’t hold back when Republicans remained silent after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Kriseman groused that he had been vocal about his feelings on then-President Donald Trump since he first landed on the campaign trail in 2015.
The St. Pete Mayor has an advantage of strong name recognition locally, repeatedly a fixture in the Top 5 of Tampa Bay’s most powerful politicians. Kriseman held onto his No. 5 spot this year, after dropping one spot from No. 4 in 2019.
Before he became Mayor, Kriseman served in the Florida House of Representatives from 2006 to 2012.
CD 13 is currently a fairly purple district. Heading into last year’s presidential election, Republicans, through a massive voter registration effort that will continue into the 2022 midterms, chipped away at the Democratic advantage from 5.2 percentage points to just 4.6.
And with redistricting on the horizon, Republicans leading the process could narrow that even more by shifting district boundaries northward. While they may be reluctant to get too creative with redistricting after the Florida Supreme Court foiled their last attempts to draw a map favorable to the GOP, the current Supreme Court is far more conservative.