Political analyst: Independent voters, Trump backlash helped Kriseman win second term in St. Pete

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Mayor Rick Kriseman won another four years in office in St. Petersburg after beating out opponent Rick Baker by more than 2,100 votes.

He’s one of many Democrats to win across the country Tuesday, in what could be a vote against President Donald Trump.

Ben Hudson is one of the Independent voters who helped get Mayor Rick Kriseman re-elected.

“I just kind of voted with my gut on this one. I think Kriseman has done a better job of making the city more inclusive,” said Hudson.

Political analyst Barry Edwards said Independents were a deciding factor.

“Baker had been up by seven points two weeks ago with Independents and it showed he lost Independents by about ten points,” said Edwards.

But the Independent vote wasn’t the only nail in the coffin for Baker.

“I’m really not a Trump supporter so I think in that regard, I supported Kriseman,” said Hudson.

Edwards said Kriseman ultimately had the better strategy, tying Baker to Trump.

“He nationalized the Republicans, he made it about Donald Trump Republicans and so Baker couldn’t attack Trump and keep the Republican base,” said Edwards.

This year, there appears to be a Trump backlash on Republican candidates that ran key around the country Tuesday.

From Virginia to New Jersey, the state of Washington, North Carolina and New York – Democrats took it all and gave the party back some control.

Some of the wins were historic in several cities.

Hudson wants Kriseman to continue the momentum in St. Petersburg.

“I’d like to see downtown to continue to make leaps forward. In the last few years, it’s come a long way since I was a little kid,” he said.

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