St. Pete District 8 City Council race pits established moderate against new progressive

Danner, Floyd
The two are hoping to succeed Amy Foster on City Council.

Local teacher Richie Floyd and former City Council member Jeff Danner are set to face off Tuesday in hopes of securing the District 8 seat on the St. Petersburg City Council.

While Danner brings his previous experience on Council as a no-party-affiliated moderate, Floyd offers voters a fresh, progressive voice that has proven a challenge for the former elected official.

The two entered a runoff after garnering the highest number of votes in the four-candidate Primary Election. Floyd earned the largest chunk of the districtwide vote at 51%, followed by Danner, who collected 27%, according to official results with the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections office.

Despite his success in the Primary Election, which restricts votes to district residents, uncertainty surrounds how well Floyd will do in the citywide General Election, where Danner has the advantage of name recognition.

But, the Pinellas County educator has held strong in polling — in a St. Pete Polls survey taken Tuesday, Floyd performed nearly nine percentage points ahead of Danner, with 39% support to Danner’s 30.5%. Notably, more than 30% of voters are either undecided or declined to say who they support.

While Floyd’s lead is well outside the poll’s 4.3% margin of error, Danner could pick up votes from third party and non-affiliated voters, as well as Republicans. Although the race is nonpartisan, meaning party affiliations won’t appear on the ballot, Floyd, a Democrat, has established himself as the progressive choice.

For a first time candidate, Floyd has led an impressive grassroots campaign, with an average campaign finance report boasting dozens, and sometimes hundreds, of small donations. His progressive bent has also led to heavy support from local unions, and he has led in the fundraising race.

Danner, on the other hand, has relied more on establishment donors, including political action committees and developers.

Floyd’s early entrance into the race helped him build momentum in funding, while Danner’s late start in May left him with little time to build a war chest. Since Oct. 15, Danner has raised nearly $39,000 since he started campaigning, and Floyd has collected more than $109,000.

Danner served two terms on City Council, elected in 2005 and 2009. Two terms have passed since he left office, making the former Council member eligible to run again.

The candidates are running to replace City Council member Amy Foster, who is leaving office because of term limits. Foster succeeded Danner in the seat eight years ago. Foster has endorsed Floyd as her successor.

Floyd brought in endorsements from outgoing incumbent Foster and Council member Lisa Wheeler-Bowman, as well as backing from the Sierra Club and a bevy of unions.

Danner, meanwhile, brought in endorsements from Council Chair Ed Montanari, one of two Republicans who currently sit on the Council, as well as two former Council members, Leslie Curran and Charlie Gerdes. Danner also nabbed the coveted Tampa Bay Times recommendation.

The two candidates have similar campaign goals — tackle affordable housing, improve transportation and promote sustainable growth.

Floyd stands as the most progressive candidate with goals like expanding and improving public housing and increasing investment in community land trusts, as well as strengthening protections in the city’s Tenant Bill of Rights to protect renters from discrimination. Floyd also promotes social justice policies like ensuring protection against discrimination among LGBTQ residents, as well as incentivizing a $15 minimum wage and passing a fair-scheduling ordinance for businesses that would provide advanced scheduling to help workers manage work/life balance.

Danner sits in the middle as an independent, often mistaken for a Democrat. He has been campaigning on providing resources and shelter options for people experiencing homelessness and being more industrious with zoning. He also wants to invest in artist live/work spaces. Danner also hopes to encourage support and participation among local businesses in city matters, as well as promote “good growth” to maintain the city’s character.

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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