Another high-profile Dem endorses Kriseman

This time, it's New Jersey U.S. Senator Cory Booker.

click to enlarge Another high-profile Dem endorses Kriseman
Creative Commons/flickr user Jamelle Bouie

Popular U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) issued his endorsement of incumbent St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman Friday afternoon.

The former Newark mayor, a possible 2020 presidential contender, also recorded a robocall message urging voters to support the mayor.

The endorsement underscores the importance of the St. Pete mayoral election to Democrats and Republicans on a national scale. At a time when gerrymandering and targeted PAC money influxes in certain races have given Republicans an advantage in state and national-level elections, Democrats see local-level elections as the last line of defense against total Republican rule. 

As an incumbent, Kriseman is fending off a challenge from former Mayor Rick Baker, a staunch Republican of whom many (but not all) Democrats are critical because he has never disavowed President Donald Trump or his policies and because he has little to say about climate change or LGBTQ equality.

The announcement also underscores the efforts underway on the part of both campaigns to appeal to the city's African-American population.

In a written statement sent to media outlets Friday, Booker heralded Kriseman's work on fighting poverty and providing opportunities for young people and former offenders who have served their time.

"Rick Kriseman is the clear choice for St. Pete mayor. He is a progressive and a proven leader, and he wants to move St. Pete forward, not backwards. Mayor Kriseman led the way on important issues like banning the box, and his Second Chance program for kids and apprenticeship programs are having a real impact on reducing poverty. Under his leadership, St. Pete is a safer city with more opportunity for all," Booker said.

In a statement, Kriseman said he was "incredibly honored" to have Booker's endorsement and that Election Day is swiftly approaching.

"We have just a few days left until Election Day, so we need folks to take advantage of in-person Early Voting this weekend. And if folks haven't returned their vote-by-mail ballots, we're encouraging them to drop their ballots off in-person to the elections office before the 7 p.m. deadline on Tuesday. Don't stay at home when everyone else has voted. Our progress is on the line, St. Pete, and we need you to vote," Kriseman said.

In addition to Booker, Kriseman has thus far received endorsements from former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), Congressman Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg), former Congresswoman Gwen Graham and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.

Early voting ends on Sunday and the election is Tuesday.

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