Kriseman, Baker make last minute push to voters ahead of tight mayoral race

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – The race to who will be St. Petersburg’s next mayor is in the final hours. 

The candidates, incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker, made a last minute push for votes Monday, ahead of Tuesday’s election.

Kriseman went door to door, while Baker and volunteers called voters on the phone.

There are three man issues in the race, Continuing issues with the sewer system, the Tampa Bay Rays and The Pier.

Baker continues to say the mayor mishandled sewer problems.

“The Fish and Wildlife Commission recommended 89 felony charges for the actions of the Kriseman administration, for dumping sewage into our Bay,” said Baker.

Baker also says Kriseman has failed to secure a deal with the Rays to stay in St. Pete.

“We’re learning because of Rick Kriseman’s decision to let the Rays partially out of their contract, they very much likely may be going to Tampa,” he said.

Kriseman wants to continue with plans to open The Pier in late 2018 or early 2019. However, Baker claims Kriseman’s plans are watered down and not what the public actually wants. Baker has more elaborate plans for The Pier that include playgrounds and sitting areas.

Kriseman says Baker, a Trump supporter, has not once condemned any of the president’s divisive and dangerous tweets.

He says Baker would take the progress the city has made backwards.

“Do we simply want to tolerate diversity or do we want to celebrate diversity? Do we want to continue on creating jobs and bring people out of poverty and having a safe community with Chief Hollaway as our police chief or do you want to go back to a time where the number of complaints against our police officers were high,” said Kriseman.

Campaign ads were also a topic of controversy.

Both tell us they ultimately want job creation and to grow the economy.

“I want them to know my first priority is how do we improve the quality of life that we have in this city,” said Baker.

“I try and talk about what I want to do going forward every chance I get. It isn’t just about what you’ve done in the past, it’s about what you want to do going forward,” Kriseman said.

Polls open Tuesday at 7 a.m.

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