Copley Gerdes to seek re-election to St. Pete City Council

gerdes art
Gerdes is so far unopposed.

St. Petersburg City Council member Copley Gerdes will seek a second term serving District 1.

Gerdes was first elected to the seat in 2021 in a Special Election to replace Robert Blackmon, who resigned to run for Mayor, but ultimately lost to now-Mayor Ken Welch.

Before Blackmon, Gerdes’ dad, Charlie Gerdes, represented the district for two terms. Copley Gerdes’ uncle, Rob Gerdes, is the City Administrator.

“I am excited to announce my candidacy for re-election as St. Petersburg Council member, District 1,” Copley Gerdes said. “St. Pete is not just my home; it’s the heart of my identity. I am committed to continuing the work of building a stronger, more vibrant city where every resident has the opportunity to thrive.”

Gerdes said during Thursday’s announcement that he plans to run his campaign “rooted in the principles of positivity, inclusivity, and grassroots engagement.”

“I believe in the power of grassroots support and the collective strength of our community,” Gerdes added. “Together, we can overcome any challenge and realize the bright future that awaits St. Petersburg.”

Gerdes is a financial advisor with Northwestern Mutual, where he has worked since 2011. Prior to that he worked as Director of Special Projects at his father’s law firm, Keane, Reese, Vesely and Gerdes P.A. Gerdes also previously served as a business analyst at FrankCrum in Clearwater. He also worked as a recruiting coordinator for the Saint Leo University baseball team.

In December, Gerdes was voted Vice Chair of the City Council. He also chairs the board’s Budget, Finance and Taxation Committee and is the vice chair for the Public Services and Infrastructure Committee.

Gerdes also serves on several other City Council committees, as well as the Tourist Development Council.

In 2021, Gerdes secured election over Bobbie Shay Lee, a former cheerleader for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That election provides some insight into what might be expected this go around.

Gerdes and Lee finished the Primary in that election virtually tied. While City Council contests are nonpartisan and candidates’ party affiliations don’t appear on the ballot (nor can they advertise them), Gerdes is a registered Democrat while Lee is a Republican. District 1 is one of only two districts in the city with a voter registration advantage for Republicans.

The Primary was close likely because only voters in the district can cast a ballot, while the General Election is open citywide where Democrats had, and still have the edge. He won with 54% of the vote to Lee’s 46%.

Gerdes is so far the only person in the race, but if he draws a challenger, the dynamics could look much the same.

And if he faces opposition, Gerdes has already shown he’s able to raise significant funds. He spent more than $84,000 in his first election.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].


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