“There’s no better job than being the Mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida. It has been the honor of my life,” Kriseman wrote in a statement on his decision. “Mindful of the important work that remains, the amount of time left in my term and the time commitments and requirements (lots of fundraising!) of being a strong congressional candidate, I have decided not to be a candidate for the open U.S. House seat in Pinellas County.”
Kriseman had been tossing around the idea of a potential run for Florida’s 13th Congressional District since he is being term-limited out of his seat in 2022. CD 13 incumbent Charlie Crist, who jumped into the 2022 gubernatorial contest, is not seeking reelection.
The Mayor said in his statement that he does not yet know what his next move may be.
“I do not yet know what the future holds, except that I was reelected to serve a four year term, and I have seven full months left as Mayor to get us closer to our vision of being a ‘city of opportunity where the sun shines on all,'” he wrote. “We’ve come a long way, St. Pete. Let’s go even further and finish strong.”
The race for CD 13 is expected to be one of the most hotly contested campaigns in the upcoming midterm election cycle. The news is likely to bring a sigh of relief to current Democratic candidates — state Rep. Ben Diamond and Eric Lynn.
The St. Pete Mayor would’ve entered the race with strong, local name recognition. He is consistently ranked 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.
Kriseman was first elected Mayor of St. Pete in 2013 and was reelected in 2017. Before that, he served in the Florida House of Representatives from 2006 to 2012.
“I am truly appreciative of the encouragement I’ve received to run, and given the appeal of such an opportunity, I strongly considered it,” Kriseman wrote.
The state Representative is up against Eric Lynn, a former national security adviser in President Barack Obama’s administration who launched his campaign after Crist’s gubernatorial announcement.
The race also includes Anna Paulina Luna. 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.
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 and could leave lawmakers emboldened to draw an aggressive map.