Former President Barack Obama endorsed St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman for re-election on Friday.
“As mayor of St. Petersburg, Rick Kriseman has taken on big challenges to move St. Pete forward,” said former President Obama. “From raising the minimum wage and fighting for equality, to bold leadership on climate change, Rick was a great ally on the priorities of my administration. I strongly endorse Rick Kriseman as the only choice for continued progress for St. Petersburg.”
As a state representative, Rick Kriseman was one of the first elected officials in Florida to endorse then Senator Obama for president in 2007.
Kriseman worked with the Obama administration to launch the My Brother's Keeper initiative in St. Pete, along with supporting Obamacare enrollment efforts.
“I am incredibly honored to have the support of President Barack Obama as we continue our work of moving St. Pete forward” said Mayor Kriseman. “President Obama's leadership had a positive impact on our city. His historic election inspired us. His governance helped us to rebound from a great recession, made healthcare more available and affordable, and expanded opportunity and equality for countless Americans. From ending veteran homelessness to combating climate change, it has been my privilege to champion his priorities and apply them at the local level.”
Kriseman is only the second mayor to receive an endorsement from the former president during this election cycle.
With just days left before the primary election, the candidates in the crowded field for mayor are scrambling for as many votes as they can get.
Some of Kriseman's opponents in the race, like candidate Jesse Nevel, took aim at the move, claiming it's an attempt to influence more black voters to support the incumbent mayor.
"This (endorsement) is a last minute act of desperation from Kriseman's campaign," Nevel said in a statement.
Voters in St. Petersburg will head to the polls Tuesday, Aug. 29, to vote for mayor as well as District 6, which represents downtown St. Pete, Old Southeast and part of Old Northeast.