St. Petersburg City Council candidate Copley Gerdes has earned an endorsement from state Rep. Ben Diamond as he campaigns for the city’s District 1 seat.
Diamond is vacating his current office, House District 68, to run in the Democratic Primary for Florida’s 13th Congressional District. In announcing his endorsement, Diamond applauded Gerdes’ commitment to inclusion and a neighborhood-centered approach to policy.
“Copley Gerdes knows St Petersburg and he’s committed to bringing people together. That’s why I’m so happy to endorse his campaign for City Council,” Diamond said in a statement. “We need strong voices on Council who will advocate for every neighborhood, increase quality affordable housing, and ensure we can all share in our city’s success.”
Gerdes is running for the District 1 seat covering West St. Pete to replace City Council member Robert Blackmon. The seat is up for Special Election this year alongside regular City Council races because Blackmon is stepping down to run for Mayor.
“Representative Diamond exemplifies integrity and service to community — that’s why I’m so honored to have his support in my race for City Council,” Gerdes said in a statement. “I look forward to continuing my work with Representative Diamond and building on the success we’ve seen in St Petersburg.”
Gerdes has previously been endorsed by St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman, Council members Amy Foster, Gina Driscoll, Lisa Wheeler Bowman and Deborah Figgs-Sanders, as well as Sen. Darryl Rouson.
Gerdes is the son of former City Council member Charlie Gerdes, who represented the district for eight years before Blackmon succeeded him.
Gerdes faces lobbyist Bobbie Shay Lee in the Nov. 2 General Election. While the race is nonpartisan — candidates’ political affiliations won’t appear on the ballot — Gerdes is a Democrat and Lee a Republican, making Diamond’s endorsement not much of a surprise. He’s a Democrat too.
Gerdes finished statistically tied with Lee in the four-way Primary Election Aug. 24 with about 34% of the vote.
District 1 is one of only two City Council districts with a Republican advantage, though the difference between GOP and Democratic voters is negligible at 8,395 to 8,087, according to data from the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections.
However, that slight GOP advantage for Lee, a Republican, evaporates in the General Election, which is open citywide. There, Democrats outnumber Republicans with 88,275 voters to 49,564.