Kriseman pulls off unexpected win in St. Pete primary, headed to runoff

Neither Mayor Rick Kriseman or Rick Baker knock each other out, but Kriseman outperformed expectations.

ST. PETERSBURG — An upset in the St. Petersburg mayor's race, one that could shape the future of Tampa Bay's second largest city, not to mention the Rays, and the quality of our waterways.

Mayor Rick Kriseman beat out former Mayor Rick Baker by just 69 votes.

So now, we have a race on our hands.

Baker announced a primary win just a few minutes too soon at his post-election party Tuesday.

Baker didn’t make the 50 percent plus one threshold he needed to win the mayor's office, as some had predicted.

Instead, he unexpectedly lost by 69 votes.

“It doesn't change me a bit,” Baker said. “I never thought we would get more than 48 or 49 percent. A lot of people speculated we would. But I've always known this is going to be a dogfight.”

Video: Baker speaks after primary election, headed to runoff with Kriseman

The winner - Kriseman - forcing a runoff in November after a powerful endorsement from President Barack Obama.

“Tonight is evidence that the people of St. Petersburg, people who prefer progress to politics, are more than ready to fight for our city and our progressive values,” Kriseman said.

Video: Kriseman speaks after primary election, headed to runoff with Baker

And here's why this St. Pete mayor's race matters to you regardless of where you live in Tampa Bay. The results hold the key for sewage and wastewater being dumped into Tampa Bay, the future of the St. Pete Pier - a destination designed for people from all over to visit - the future of the Rays and major league baseball, not to mention the Rowdies and major league soccer in Tampa Bay. It's all on the line.

Now, it's one-on-one. A battle to the finish. It'll be Kriseman versus Baker in a rematch when voters head to the polls on Nov. 7.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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