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Ken Welch, the former Pinellas County commissioner eyeing mayoral seat

Ken Welch collected enough votes to advance to the general election in hopes to become St. Pete's next mayor come Nov. 2.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla — After gathering the most votes Tuesday evening, Ken Welch can rejoice in advancing to the general election to compete for mayor of St. Petersburg on Nov. 2.

Welch, nor his future opponent Robert Blackmon, received at least 50 percent of the votes to be named mayor in the primary election. The two have a little more than two months two convince St. Pete voters on why one of them should be their next mayor. 

Running against eight other candidates, Welch took on a larger portion of the votes with 21,103 - or about 39 percent - and Blackmon came second with 15,424 - or about 28 percent of votes.

Who is Ken Welch?

Running under the slogan "Progress for the Sunshine State," Welch served on the County Commission for 20 years before making his run for mayor. 

He is a third-generation St. Pete resident who wants to be a "unifying leader who believes in partnership and working toward a common goal of authentic progress for every neighborhood."

The mayoral candidate received his Bachelor's Degree from the University of Florida at St. Petersburg and continued to earn his Masters at Florida A&M University.

Welch is focusing on six principles in his run for mayor of St. Pete, made up of an inclusive leadership strategy, keeping the mayor's office in touch with the city, making informed decisions, being innovative, incorporating intentional equity and impacting the community. 

While serving as Pinellas County Commission Chair in 2013, Welch led the creation of the first community redevelopment area in the county's history helping reduce poverty in south St. Pete. 

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Welch also believes in a science-based response to the pandemic, heeding advice from health professionals and using face masks and social distancing. 

In addition, the former county commissioner is also invested in justice reform, diversion equity and alternatives to incarceration. 

During his time as county commissioner, he supported an opportunity for the youth, including securing funding for the Urban League Urban Youth Empowerment Program in Pinellas and providing youth with entrepreneurial training.

To read more about Welch, visit his site.

Welch and Blackmon will appear on the Nov. 2 general election ballot for St. Pete voters to choose their next mayor to succeed Mayor Rick Kriseman.