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Tuesday, Jul 22, 2014

St. Pete City Council chairman backs mayor's opponent


Published:   |   Updated: August 27, 2013 at 06:59 AM

In a blow to St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster, City Council Chairman Karl Nurse announced Monday he is endorsing Rick Kriseman in the mayoral election, which heads to a primary vote Tuesday.

As recently as Thursday, Nurse was declining to endorse anyone in the race, saying he wanted a good working relationship with whomever is elected. But doubts about Foster's leadership style led to a change of heart over the weekend. Nurse said Kriseman, a former Democratic state legislator and City Council member, would do a better job of promoting the city and attracting more businesses and development.

Foster's style of leadership doesn't fit with the city's current needs, Nurse said.

“It's pretty clear, his style is low-key and quiet, and I think we need a more forceful cheerleader for the city.” Nurse said. “The next four years are critical enough that I didn't want to waste the opportunity.”

Nurse is the fourth City Council member to endorse Kriseman, who also has the backing of Charlie Gerdes, Steve Kornell and Leslie Curran.

Councilman Wengay Newton has backed former City Council member Kathleen Ford. Foster has not received a single endorsement from a City Council member. He does have endorsements from the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, the Pinellas Realtor Organization and the Suncoast Police Benevolent Association.

Polls suggest a tight race between Foster and Kriseman. More than 27,000 mall ballors have already been cast. Polls open at 7 a.m.

codonnell@tampatrib.com

(727) 215-7654

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