Former St. Pete City Council member Jeff Danner rolled out a bipartisan slate of endorsements Wednesday as he seeks his old job.
Danner is running for the District 8 seat he previously held for two terms after winning elections in 2005 and 2009.
He earned nods from current City Council member Ed Montanari, a Republican, and former City Council member Charlie Gerdes, a Democrat. Leslie Curran, who served concurrently with Danner during his first two terms and is a Republican, also offered her endorsement.
Danner does not have any party affiliation, and the race is technically nonpartisan, though voters often split along party lines anyway.
“As Chair of the St Petersburg City Council, I strongly endorse Jeff Danner. Jeff brings people together and takes on difficult challenges to a successful conclusion,” Montanari said in a statement. “He is a proven leader. And we need his experience, hard work ethic, knowledge, and expertise to lead our wonderful city into the future.”
Gerdes touted Danner as a stand-up elected leader.
“You don’t have to hope and wish that Jeff Danner will do the right thing and make the best choices for St. Petersburg. He has a track record. He has already proven the quality of his stewardship,” Gerdes, whose son is seeking a seat in the District 1 race, said.
Curran, a longtime friend, and ally of Danner, also touted his track record.
“Jeff Danner will bring his proven leadership to City Council on his first day,” she said. “Tropicana Master Plan, related Stadium issues, zoning change proposals, Marina redevelopment, public safety, and housing are not new subjects for him. Danner understands the budget, and he navigated through one of the most difficult recessions in recent history during his Council tenure. These are some of the many reasons I support Jeff Danner for District 8.”
During his time in office, Danner was known for his work on transportation and transit issues. While those issues have progressed significantly since his service — construction on a bus rapid transit line connecting downtown St. Pete to the beaches is underway, and a robust, complete streets program is already seeing results — there is still much to do.
Danner supported the Greenlight Pinellas transit referendum in 2014, which failed miserably at the ballot box despite robust bipartisan support. Local officials in the coming years will have to again grapple with how to fund transit improvements, an issue Danner worked on as a former member of the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority board.
All three of his endorsers were on hand earlier this month when Danner launched his campaign under the slogan, “The work continues.”
“There’s no question; I’m ready on day one,” Danner said, “My Council experience is part of that, but so are all the relationships with the business community, neighborhoods, and residents that I have built. I am prepared to serve District 8 once again,” Danner said.
Danner is the fourth candidate to enter the race and could quickly emerge as a front-runner thanks to his long-standing ties to the District 8 community, including Danner’s Historic Kenwood neighborhood.
Richie Floyd is currently leading the race in fundraising, with just shy of $47,000 banked so far and about $39,000 remaining. Floyd is a self-described Democratic Socialist, setting up a battle with the more moderate Danner, who is often mistaken for a Democrat.
Optometrist Dane Kuplicki and a third candidate, Jamie Mayo, are also running.
The candidates have all filed to run for the seat currently held by Amy Foster, who is facing term limits. Foster has served on the Council since being elected in 2013. Foster replaced Danner.
District 8 borders the west side of I-275, north of south St. Pete, and includes the historic Kenwood neighborhood.