St. Pete voter turnout reaches 11% with two weeks until Election Day

Palatine, IL/USA - 08-27-2020:  A woman is safely and contactlessly mailing in her application for ballot for 2020 election at the Post Office
Ballots are split so far almost evenly between Republicans and Democrats.

The Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections has reported that 11% of St. Petersburg voters have cast a ballot in the city’s municipal elections, which are set for Nov. 2.

On the ballot are the city’s mayoral election, four City Council contests and seven charter amendments.

Of the 20,091 mail-in ballots returned so far, 10,200 have been cast by Democrats, 6,087 have been cast by Republicans and 3,694 have been cast by third party or non-partisan voters, according to the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Office. The city is made up of 185,035 eligible, active voters.

Democrats represent the largest share of St. Pete voters. According to the most recent voter registration data available with the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections office, the city of St. Pete has 88,055 registered Democrats and 49,527 registered Republicans.

Former Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch and St. Pete City Council member Robert Blackmon are the two mayoral candidates. The pair advanced to the General Election after receiving the highest number of votes in the August Primary — Welch grabbed the top spot with 39% of the vote and Blackmon clenched the No. 2 spot with 29%.

The winner of the mayoral race will replace incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, who is leaving office due to term-limits. Kriseman has endorsed Welch as his successor.

Welch’s campaign released an update Tuesday morning about voter outreach, reporting the campaign has completed more than 65,000 voter contacts, with 30,000 of that through door-to-door canvassing.

“We know that over 78% of voters in the August Primary are going to vote by mail, meaning that our strategy is focused on turning out absentee voters as early as possible,” Senior Advisor Reggie Cardozo said in a statement. “Our focus is on efficiency and building a strong (voter) contact program that can reach voters at the ballot box. And in the case of absentee voters, that is on kitchen tables and front porches.”

To date, the campaign has reinforced its canvassing with calls and texts, averaging 2.5 attempts per voter. The campaign is averaging more than 10,000 contact attempts a week, and expects to reach 100,000 voter attempts by Election Day.

Financial planner Copley Gerdes and breast cancer awareness advocate and former lobbyist Bobbie Shay Lee will be on the ballot for a chance at the City Council District 1 seat. The race is a Special Election that was scheduled concurrently with the city’s regular municipal races for even-numbered districts, as well as the mayoral contest, to replace outgoing City Council member Blackmon, who resigned to run for Mayor.

The race for City Council District 4 features former prosecutor Lisset Hanewicz and Raymond James executive Tom Mullins. The two are running to replace Darden Rice, who is leaving office due to term limits and ran unsuccessfully for Mayor.

In the District 8 race, Richie Floyd, a local teacher, faces former City Council member Jeff Danner. The candidates are running to replace District 8 St. Pete City Council member Amy Foster, who is also leaving office due to term limits.

The only race to include an incumbent candidate is District 6, with current City Council member Gina Driscoll facing Mhariel Summers.

While voters in the Primary Election could only cast a ballot for candidates within their City Council district, the General Election races will be voted on citywide.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected].


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