Voters in St. Petersburg discuss the issues as they elect Mayor

The Pier, sewage and the economy are the top issues St. Pete voters are concerned about.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- There was a big turnout at the polls in St. Petersburg Tuesday. By late afternoon, the Pinellas Office of Elections showed nearly 30 percent of registers voters had cast their ballots in the tight race for city mayor.

So, what was on voters’ minds as they headed to the polls?

“We're very interested in what they are doing with The Pier, and with the whole sewage issue and infrastructure,” said Jenny Inman, voting with her husband.

In the city's suburbs, three precincts packed the ballot booths at First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg. There was a slow but steady turnout with mixed motivations to get out and vote. 

“It's been a dead city in the '70s and '80s. Now it's alive,” said Teruko Sullivan.

“Bringing the communities together, I think that's a big thing. I don't think that happened in the past,” said Antwan Lacy.

Infrastructure and projects were big issues too.

“Flooding the streets, flooding the neighborhood and all,” said John Riggle, still upset over the city’s sewage issues.

“I wasn't that informed, and not about the sewer issue, so I didn't have much of an opinion on it,” said Trent Garmon. “But The Pier, to me, is something crucial.”

In the city's urban core, the Coliseum also saw a consistent crowd. That’s where five precincts were casting their ballots.

“The Pier, it's crazy, they haven't done anything with it,” said Brenda Canarinos, after voting.

 “I think St. Pete needs a progressive mayor, not regression to the past,” said voter Richard Hughes.

The political pulse of South St. Petersburg was gauged at the Thomas "Jet" Jackson Recreation Center, where there was only one precinct voting, but still seeing a steady stream of voters, said a poll worker.

Some voting here were concerned that their part of town wasn’t experiencing the same boom as others.

“Progress being built and everything. Over here? Dead, barren. Nothing,” said Berton Clemons Jr. as he left the poll.

“I just want to see the city going in a positive direction. For everyone,” added La-Kecia Fuller.

Geography might have played a factor in the way people voted, but as people exited the polls, there was one clear certainty.

A guy named Rick who'd been St. Pete's mayor was apparently doing pretty well.

“That's right, exactly,” laughed voter Elizabeth Skidmore, “And we’ll see. It'll be a tight race I think, but it's exciting.”

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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