Sen. Darryl Rouson is endorsing former Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch for St. Petersburg Mayor, Welch’s campaign announced Tuesday.
Rouson, a St. Pete Democrat, has served in the Florida Senate since 2016. Well-known in both Tallahassee and his local community, Rouson rose from No. 15 to No. 11 on the list of Tampa Bay’s most powerful politicians in 2021.
“Ken is a third generation St. Pete native who I’ve known and worked with for decades,” Rouson said in a statement. “I know there is no one better prepared and committed to inclusive progress than Ken Welch and I’m proud to endorse him to be the next Mayor of St. Petersburg.”
“We are at a critical junction in the story of St. Pete — Ken’s historic administration, he will be the first black Mayor, first from South St. Pete and the most prepared Mayor from day 1 in a generation given his experience as County Commissioner for 20 years,” Rouson added. “Ken will serve our entire community at this important crossroads. It’s time for our city to come together — and I’m excited to support Ken in pursuit of a more equitable future for all residents in St. Petersburg.”
Welch has raked in a long list of endorsements, most recently from Equality Florida Action PAC and Tampa Mayor Jane Castor.
“Senator Rouson is a legend in St. Petersburg. His story, his commitment to the community, and his tireless efforts to fight for what is right, have changed the course of our city forever,” Welch said in a statement. “His support at this moment is crucial as we move toward November 2nd and I’m proud to have him by my side as we work for a new partnership for progress in the city that we all love so deeply.”
Welch faces City Council member Robert Blackmon in the Nov. 2 General Election after finishing first in a crowded field in the Aug. 24 Primary. He’s running to replace Mayor Rick Kriseman, who is leaving office due to term limits and has endorsed Welch as his successor. Former Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn has also offered his support.