Rick Kriseman keeps St. Pete mayoral post; Bill Mutz wins in Lakeland

By Team Coverage, Bay News 9
Last Updated: Wednesday, November 08, 2017, 1:12 PM EST

Incumbent Rick Kriseman defeated challenger and former mayor Rick Baker to remain St. Petersburg mayor.

Kriseman garnered 51.4 percent of the vote (33,854 votes) according to Tuesday's results. Baker finished with 31,815 votes.

His supporters chanted "four more years" before Kriseman gave his wife flowers to open his victory speech.

"We can now move forward. We can now finish what we started," Kriseman said to cheers.

"Rick Baker and I just waged a tough battle against each other ... It wasn't always pleasant to put it mildly. But when the dust settles, I believe Rick Baker and I can work together and put St. Pete first," he said.

"And if we can do it, then every citizen of our great city can do it."

Kriseman will be serving his second term in office after winning the most expensive mayoral race in the city's history. About $3 million was spent between the candidates.

"There's no better job than public service," he said. "And there's no better people than right here in St. Pete."

Baker conceded minutes before Kriseman's speech.

"We ran a very vigorous race that we can all be very proud of," Baker said in his concession speech. "We were honest in our dealings ... we left nothing on the field."

"Unfortunately we fell short tonight," he said. "While I am saddened for the city we love, St. Petersburg is a wonderful place with really great people."

Baker thanked his campaign team and supporters and said he was "so proud" of the effort.

Meanwhile, the Penny for Pinellas measure passed with 138,429 yes votes (82.6 percent), and 29,141 no votes (17.4 percent). The 1-percent sales tax, in effect since 1990, will continue. The tax has been used to fund infrastructure projects between the county and 24 Pinellas communities.

Brandi Gabbard defeated Barclay Harless in the City Council District 2 race, Darden Rice bested Jerick Johnston in District 4, and Gina Driscoll held off Justin Bean in District 6.

POLK COUNTY

Elsewhere, Bill Mutz is Lakeland's new mayor, pulling away from a field that included Jim Green, Patrick Shawn Jones.


Bill Mutz, right, checks race results Tuesday. He won the Lakeland mayor's race. (Rick Elmhorst, staff)

Also in Lakeland, Stephanie Madden defeated four candidates to win the Commissioner At-Large seat.

In Auburndale, Keith Cowie (Seat 1), Dorothea Bogert (Seat 2) and Timothy Pospichal (Seat 3) won their respective races.

View more Polk County results here.

MANATEE COUNTY

John Chappie won the Bradenton Beach mayor seat, picking up 60 percent of the vote to defeat Bill Shearon.

Carol Carter, Dale Woodland and Doug Copeland won seats on the Anna Maria Commission.

And Jim Kihm, Carol Soustek, Rick Hurst and Pat Morton won seats for Holmes Beach commissioner.

View more Manatee County results here.