ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — Democrat Ken Welch is set to make history as the projected winner of the 2021 St. Petersburg mayoral election.
Welch earned 59.67% of the vote on Tuesday and declared victory over Republican Robert Blackmon, who received 40.33% of the vote. Blackmon conceded to Welch Tuesday night, shortly after Welch declared victory.
Welch is now projected to become St. Petersburg’s first Black mayor.
“Because of each and every one of you here today, we have made history,” Welch said in a statement. “But this election is not about me, it’s because of the giants that came before me – it’s because of the inclusive progress we are working towards and that’s why we’re all here today.”
In his victory statement, Welch outlined some of the issues he’s looking to tackle once he takes office. Those issues include housing affordability, climate change and working with law enforcement to reduce crime.
“Because of you, we will have incredible partners in progress on day one so we can hit the ground running on our opportunity agenda,” he said. “Thank you again, St. Pete, for believing in our vision. You’ve never let me or my family down.”
Welch will replace current Mayor Rick Kriseman, who could not run for re-election due to term limits. Kriseman, who endorsed Welch, released a statement Tuesday night congratulating his projected successor.
“Ken ran a positive, issues-driven campaign that emphasized the need for partnerships to propel St. Pete to the next level,” he said. “The result was a decisive and historic victory that should serve as further proof of St. Pete’s progress and upward trajectory.”
Across the bay, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor also congratulated Welch.
“Huge congratulations to St. Pete Mayor-elect Ken Welch!” she tweeted. “He made history tonight. It’s a win for [St. Pete] and all of Tampa Bay.”