St. Petersburg’s First Black Mayor
St. Petersburg elected the city’s first Black mayor, Ken Welch Tuesday, November 2. Welch, a Democrat and former Pinellas Board of County Commissioner (Welch was the first commissioner elected after Pinellas went from at-large representation to single-member districts), beat competitor Robert Blackmon with nearly 59.98% of the vote. Republican competitor Blackmon trailed with 40.02% of the public’s vote.
New and Returning Council Members
The election also cast a string of new (and incumbent) council members: Copley Gerdes beat out Bobbie Shay Lee in the race for St. Petersburg’s District 1 Council Member with 53.47% compared to Shay’s 46.53%. District 2’s seat automatically went to incumbent Brandi Gabbard during the primary election. Lisset Hanewicz now holds the position of District 4 Council Member, winning with 54.27% to Tom Mullins’ 45.73% of the votes.
With a whopping lead, incumbent Gina Driscoll [70.25%] crushed Mhariel Summers [29.75%] in the race for a spot as the District 6 Councilmember. The new District 8 Councilmember is Richie Floyd, a Pinellas County science teacher with a love of local politics. It was a tight race between Floyd and competitor Jeff Danner with 50.11% to 49.89% of the votes. Floyd won his spot by only 124 votes.
St. Petersburg Rejects Most Charter Amendments
As for the seven charter amendments and the one referendum question, only amendments five and six won a “yes” from St. Petersburg voters. (Here’s the breakdown of each ballot question.)
Charter Amendment 1 – Limiting City Council Elections to Voters in the Applicable Council District and Making Related Changes: No
Charter Amendment 2 – Creating new process for establishing district boundaries for election of City Council Members: No
Charter Amendment 3 – Establishing an equity framework and Chief Equity Officer for City government: No
Charter Amendment 4 – Establishing a requirement for Charter-protected equity funding: No
Charter Amendment 5 – Establishing new requirements related to City Administrator, City Clerk, and City Council Administrative Officer: Yes
Charter Amendment 6 – Changing the City’s Charter-review process to avoid conflict with redistricting and make other improvements: Yes
Charter Amendment 7 – Adding a preamble to describe the spirit of the Charter and the City’s governing philosophy: No
Referendum Question – Authorize City Council to Grant Tax Exemptions to Businesses Expected to Create New Full-Time Jobs: No
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