Less than two weeks out from St. Pete's election, another national heavyweight is voicing support for incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, a popular Democrat who, alongside Jimmy Buffett, stumped for Hillary Clinton in St. Pete on the eve of the 2016 election, announced his endorsement of Kriseman Thursday.
He urged the city's voters to associate Kriseman's policymaking acumen to that of himself as well as former President Barack Obama.
"I have a straight forward message to the St. Pete voters. If you voted for Barack and me when we were on the ballot, then we need you to get out there and vote for Rick Kriseman. Rick has a great track record on important issues to St. Petersburg: like reducing poverty, reducing crime, preparing for climate change, and creating jobs where you can support a middle class family. So please, get out there and re-elect Rick Kriseman," Biden said in a written statement Kriseman's campaign released Thursday afternoon.
Biden also recorded a robocall message in an effort to reach more city voters with a pro-Kriseman message.
The endorsement's timing comes two months after a nod from Obama just four days before the six-way August mayoral primary, and at a time when Kriseman and former Mayor Rick Baker are in a dead heat.
It underscores the role of partisanship in city politics, which until recent years were largely nonpartisan.
Kriseman is a Democrat with progressive leanings and extensive party support.
Baker, meanwhile, is a Republican with conservative leanings and generous support from his own party.
Kriseman welcomed Biden's endorsement.
"No one has fought harder for working class families than Vice President Joe Biden and I'm honored to have his endorsement. St. Petersburg has come so far these past four years, and I'm committed to continuing that progress. Every day until the polls close, we're going to talk to voters about what's at stake in this election. Crime and poverty are on the decline, job growth is on the rise, and our city is finally preparing for a changing climate. We can't afford to go backward." Kriseman said in the media release.