Copley Gerdes is launching his first ad in his campaign for St. Petersburg City Council District 1, his campaign announced Wednesday.
The ad, “St. Pete Forward,” spotlights Gerdes’ service to the community and his priorities as a leader.
“I serve on the Police Athletic League Board and our Community Planning and Preservation Committee,” Gerdes says in the ad. “I love St Pete. Together, we can make it even better.”
Gerdes goes on in the ad to highlight his campaign priorities, including smart growth, neighborhood safety, and maintaining the city’s unique charm. The ad maintains a theme pitting Gerdes as the best choice for bringing people from different backgrounds and political persuasions together to tackle the city’s most pressing challenges.
The ad is running on digital platforms targeting voters in District 1, which includes west St. Pete. The campaign is complimenting the launch with door-to-door canvassing, direct mail, and a text campaign.
“We know that when voters hear my message, we’ll win this race,” Gerdes said in a statement. “People are tired of the division in our politics. I’m offering something different, and I think St Pete is ready to move forward together.”
Gerdes is one of four candidates vying to replace City Council member Robert Blackmon, who is leaving office to run for Mayor. Gerdes is the son of Blackmon’s predecessor, Charlie Gerdes. He is one of two Democrats in the race. John Hornbeck, who ran unsuccessfully against Blackmon two years ago, is also a Democrat. Bobbie Shay Lee, a lobbyist and former cheerleader for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Ed Carlson, a retired Air Force captain, are Republicans. While the candidates’ political affiliation is known, the race is nonpartisan.
Gerdes is currently the top fundraiser in the race, raising more than $23,000 since entering the race in June. Carlson follows with nearly $16,000 raised. Lee brought in nearly $13,000, while Hornbeck raised less than $7,000.
Gerdes has high-profile backing from incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman. He currently serves as the growth and development director for Northwestern Mutual of Tampa Bay. Gerdes volunteers his time with the Police Athletic League and his church. He also runs a charity with his wife called Love McKinley, which supports families battling pediatric cancer.