Robert Blackmon launches his first TV ad for St. Pete Mayor’s race

Blackmon, Robert - 2
Blackmon wants voters to know he's not a career politician.

St. Petersburg City Council member Robert Blackmon is launching his first television ad promoting his bid for Mayor.

The ad, entitled “Fighting for You,” focuses on Blackmon’s work rehabilitating homes for affordable housing as a small-business owner, his efforts on City Council and touts the candidate as an outside option.

“I’m not a career politician looking for a job. I’m an outsider with fresh ideas, ideas that come from you, the people,” Blackmon opens in the ad, which he narrates.

“As a City Council member, I fought to reopen our city after the pandemic and for increasing public safety, and I’m going to keep on fighting.”

The ad then pivots to footage of a City Council meeting in which he promises that he “will never apologize for fighting for the people of this city and what’s right.”

Blackmon was first elected to the Council in 2019, replacing former City Council member Charlie Gerdes, who was facing term limits.

While city races, including the Mayor’s race, are nonpartisan, Blackmon is a registered Republican. He’s one of four top-polling candidates in the race and, among them, is the only member of the GOP. His comment about fighting to reopen the city after the pandemic likely serves as a nod to conservative voters who opposed some COVID-19 restrictions.

“Our campaign is spreading like wildfire for one reason: We’re fighting for a St. Pete for All,” Blackmon said in a news release announcing his ad. “People don’t want impossible D.C. ideas grafted onto St. Pete. They want to hear what we’ll do about affordability, about education, and about public safety. We’re the only ones talking about concrete ideas and real achievements.”

The announcement called out his “chief rivals” in the race. While he didn’t name them, former Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch is leading the race, according to the most recent polling, with Blackmon’s colleague, Darden Rice, and former City Council member Wengay Newton, not far behind.

Rice is facing term limits this cycle while Welch did not seek reelection to the Commission last year in favor of his mayoral bid, and Welch lost an election last year for Welch’s old job.

“City government shouldn’t be a jobs program for unemployed politicians,” Blackmon said in a statement. “It’s about serving the people. I am running for Mayor to serve, not because I need a job. That’s one of the reasons I’m the best candidate for the job.”

He closed his ad with a final punch.

“I’m not here to make friends; I’m here to make change.”

The Primary Election is Aug. 24. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote — a high likelihood, given the crowded field — the top two vote-getters will move on to the General Election Nov. 2.

Here is Blackmon’s ad.

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].


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