With Kriseman out and City Council seats up for grabs, St. Pete's 2021 elections are already underway

Richie Floyd, a political newcomer, has hit the ground running in efforts to mobilize volunteers for his campaign.

click to enlarge With Kriseman out and City Council seats up for grabs, St. Pete's 2021 elections are already underway
Richie Floyd for St Pete City Council/Facebook

As the leftover energy from Florida’s 2020 election season begins to wind down, for others—things are just getting started.

Already on the horizon for residents of St. Petersburg is next year’s municipal elections. In 2021, St. Pete will decide who becomes the city’s next mayor, as well as several City Council seats up for election. 

Mayor Rick Kriseman, who served as the city’s head of political leadership since 2014, is restricted from running for re-election due to term limits. Four City Council seats—including Districts 2, 4, 6, and 8—are also up for election. Two of these seats—District 4 and 8—are open.

One person already off to a head-start on the upcoming election season is 29-year old City Council candidate Richie Floyd. Floyd is a middle school teacher and community organizer who filed to run for the St. Pete City Council District 8 seat earlier this month (he still has a contract with the school district; he’s just on leave at the moment due to COVID and having pre-existing conditions). The district’s current city councilwoman, Amy Foster, is term-limited and unable to seek re-election.

Floyd, a political newcomer, has hit the ground running in efforts to mobilize volunteers for his campaign. In his first virtual Volunteer Campaign Meeting this past weekend, Floyd’s campaign outlined an ambitious plan to begin gathering qualifying petitions for his candidacy. All candidates running for municipal offices must qualify by petition or by paying a fee prior to the 2021 qualifying period, which runs from June 3 to June 18, 2021. Candidates for City Council must get at least 500 petitions to qualify.

As an experienced organizer, labor activist, and educator, Floyd boasts a platform built around the priorities of working families and increasing political engagement in the community. Floyd wants to work with city officials and the community more broadly to bolster the city’s public transit system, expand affordable housing, improve support systems for the city’s houseless population, and uplift movements for environmental justice and fair wages for workers. 

So far, Floyd is unopposed in his race to fill District 8’s open City Council seat. But he expects that will change. It’s still early, and candidates have months yet to file their intent to make it on the August primary election ballot. “I decided to run, because I want to serve this community I’ve grown to love that’s filled with people fighting every day to create a better St Pete,” said Floyd in his first campaign press statement.

“I left my corporate job to become a teacher in St Pete’s schools, and I’ve seen firsthand just how this city isn’t working for many of my students and their families. Here in District 8, we see all too often how we’re not doing enough for the vulnerable and the houseless everyday,” Floyd said.

Beyond Floyd’s run for District 8, several candidates have also filed for other seats on the City Council—including three candidates for the open District 4 seat: Clifford Hobbs, Lauren Hubbard, and Wendy Wesley.

Next year’s mayoral race in St. Pete is also going to be one to watch. Michael Ingram, a 20-year old USF St. Petersburg student and political science major, is the latest candidate to enter St. Pete’s mayoral race. Ingram, who previously filed to run for City Council District 2 earlier this year, spoke to Bay News 9 about his platform, which includes: uplifting small businesses, fixing issues with city infrastructure, advancing police reform efforts, and expanding affordable housing options.

Outgoing Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch and term-limited City Councilwoman Darden Rice of District 4 are also rumored to be potential mayoral candidates.

Next year’s primary election date for municipal elections is Aug. 24, 2021. The General Election date is Nov. 2, 2021. We have a way to go, folks. If you’re in for the ride, buckle up.

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