ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — On Tuesday, St. Pete voters will have the chance to decide which mayoral candidates will advance to November’s general election.
There are eight candidates on the ballot: Robert Blackmon, Pete Boland, Michael Ingram, Torry Nelson, Wengay Newton, Marcile Powers, Darden Rice, and Ken Welch.
“We got a lot of firsts that potentially could happen. The first black candidate, first gay candidate, and if Blackmon wins he would be the 1st millennial candidate, he’s 32-years-old, sort of the next generation,” said USF Political Professor Darryl Paulson.
The two candidates with the most votes will face off in the November election. Whoever wins will be mayor for four years and have the chance to be re-elected to another term.
Paulson said atop issue for voters is how downtown St. Pete will be redeveloped if the Rays leave. Tara Newsom, a political professor at St. Petersburg College agrees.
“There are major issues citizens are worried about. Tropicana redevelopment, what’s going to happen with the rays, access to economic development, thinking about affordable houses and infrastructure. Something that we haven’t talked a lot about but I think is going to be a big general election issue for mayor candidates is infrastructure,” Newsom said.
Newsom said another concern was the city’s overwhelmed sewer system.
Once the race is narrowed down to two candidates, Newsom predicts there will be a major shift in messaging.
“We’re going to pivot. It’s going to pivot, issues are going to bubble up. We need to get ready that half the city will be worried about local issues and the other half of the city will be following a national narrative and how that might play out,” Newsom said.
8 On Your Side sat down with seven of the eight candidates for a Q&A and asked them about the issues facing the city. You can watch the discussion here.
Polls open at 7 a.m. Tuesday and will close at 7 p.m. To find your precinct, visit VotePinellas.com and put in your address. The website also has sample ballots and a full list of polling locations.
Mail-in ballots should be received by 7 p.m. Tuesday. Voters who missed the mail-in deadline can drop their ballots off at one of the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections main office locations.
The deadline to register for the primary was July 26. The registration deadline for the general election is Oct. 4. To see your voter registration status, visit Florida’s Voter Lookup.