UPDATE: The mayoral debate scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 8 has been postponed. WFLA will provide updates when a new date is set.
TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The next mayor of St. Petersburg will be elected on November 2, but first the candidates will face each other in a live-streamed debate on WFLA NOW.
Voters will decide between Ken Welch and Robert Blackmon in the non-partisan general election runoff. Welch and Blackmon were the two leading vote-getters in the primary race on August 24, but since neither candidate won more than 50% of the vote, they will meet head-to-head in a runoff.
The debate will be hosted by the Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce and hosted virtually. Evan Donovan, News Channel 8 political reporter and host of Battleground Florida, will moderate the debate starting at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday Sept. 8.
Welch has served the past 20 years on the Pinellas County Commission. If elected in November, Welch will be the first black mayor in St. Petersburg’s history.
Blackmon is a city councilman representing District 1. He became the youngest city council member in St. Petersburg’s history in 2019.
Topics in the debate will focus on the chamber’s legislative agenda.
A top issue for voters is the future of the Tampa Bay Rays, and how the 86-acre site where Tropicana Field sits would be redeveloped if the Rays leave. You can learn about the candidates’ platforms and stances on key issues as they respond to questions during the debate.
The winner in November will serve a term of four years as mayor, with the opportunity to be re-elected to a second term. Current St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman is term-limited and cannot seek re-election.
The General Election is set for November 2, 2021. The new mayor will be sworn in on January 6, 2022.