St. Petersburg City Council member Brandi Gabbard is endorsing Copley Gerdes in his District 1 run.
First elected to the City Council in 2017, Gabbard credited Gerdes’ commitment to public service in announcing her support. In September, Gabbard was re-elected to her seat after challenger Kyle Hall withdrew from the race, leaving her unopposed.
“Copley has a deep love for St. Petersburg and all of our residents. We would be so fortunate to have him as our next Council member for District 1,” Gabbard said in a statement. “Through his work with the Police Athletic League, Love McKinley, and the Community Planning and Preservation Committee, he’s shown his belief that St. Petersburg is stronger when we stand together. I’m proud to endorse his campaign and look forward to his continued service to our city.”
With Gabbard’s endorsement, Gerdes has earned the support of six of the eight sitting Council members. Gabbard joins fellow Council members Darden Rice, Amy Foster, Gina Driscoll, Lisa Wheeler-Bowman and Deborah Figgs-Sanders in supporting Gerdes.
“When we come together and put our city first, there’s no limit to what we can accomplish,” Gerdes said in a statement. “Council member Gabbard has built a reputation for collaboration and putting the needs of St Petersburg first. I’m so grateful for her support of my campaign and for everything she’s done in our community.”
Gerdes is running for the District 1 seat covering West St. Pete to replace City Council member Robert Blackmon. This year, the seat is up for Special Election alongside regular City Council races because Blackmon is stepping down to run for Mayor.
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 Rice’s endorsement not much of a surprise. She’s a Democrat too.
Gerdes finished statistically tied with Lee in the four-way Primary Election on 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.