Final mayoral debate before ballots hit St. Pete mailboxes

"The Battle of the Ricks" gets testy over partisan politics and sewage problems.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - It was the battle of the Ricks - current St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman and former Mayor Rick Baker in the final debate before ballots hit mailboxes across the city.

The biggest fireworks came from -- you guessed it -- the debate over the sewage crisis.

Baker asked Kriseman whether he would commit to reopening the closed Albert Whitted sewage plant.

Kriseman said he wouldn't - that it would take too long and may not be part of the new master sewage plan for the city.

But Kriseman also heated things up with a partisan callback to the 2008 election.

You know-- President Obama vs. John McCain:

KRISEMAN: You said that Sarah "Drill Baby Drill" Palin would make a great vice president, so would you explain why you felt she was a great vice president?

BAKER: First, for the record, I would begin the process immediately I wouldn't wait two years and three rainy seasons to open the Albert Whitted plant, and I promise you will not take four years ... I was the only Republican in this area that came out against drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

KRISEMAN: I'm sorry, I didn't hear why are you were supporting Sarah Palin?

MODERATOR: Why did you support Sarah Palin?

BAKER: Well that's a good ... that's good. Rick Kriseman has tried everything in his power to make this a partisan race.

Baker slammed Kriseman for bringing partisan politics into this. But put political talking points aside.

The fact this is a non-partisan race is what you really need to take away from tonight.

There's less than a week for you to register for the primary.

Yes, it's a primary, but this could turn into the general election for mayor.

Here's how the race works.

There are six candidates including Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker.

If one of these people gets more than 50 percent in the primary, that's it. The race is over. There is no general election, and the person that wins the primary becomes mayor.

If any of these people get 50 percent or less, THEN and only THEN is there another election in November.
It would be a runoff between the top two vote getters.

So if you want to vote, you can't wait until the general in November.

Have your voice heard.

The deadline to register is this coming Monday, July 31. Don't wait.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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