Kriseman closes gap in mayoral election, triggering runoff

- After spending most of the race for St. Pete Mayor down in the polls, current Mayor Rick Kriseman finished strong when voting closed in Tuesday's Primary.

With all precincts reporting at 8 p.m., Rick Baker finished with 48.61 percent of the vote. Rick Kriseman finished with 48.01 percent of the vote. As mail-in ballots were counted, the gap tightened even further. 

Just before 10 p.m., Kriseman had pulled ahead of Baker with 48.36 percent of the vote, to Baker's 48.23 percent. This finish means the candidates will enter a runoff election that will be decided on November 7, 2017.

Voters had seven candidates to consider when they went to the polls at 7 a.m. Tuesday.

Those vying for the position included Kriseman and Baker, as well as Jesse Nevel, Theresa Lassiter, Anthony Cates, Paul Congemi and Ernisa Barnwell.

According to a spokesperson for the Supervisor of Election's Office, more than a thousand people voted within the first hour. There were 169,770 registered voters eligible to participate in this election, including 47,011 registered Republicans and 78,253 registered Democrats.

Some 44,506 other eligible voters are not registered with a party.

Once the votes were in, the office said 33 percent of voters turned out to cast a ballot.

Mayor Kriseman's office released a statement after the results were in.

"This election is about the direction we want to take St. Petersburg. We can move our city forward or go backwards. I've been very clear about where I stand on the issues. I'm proud to have the support of President Obama, Congressman Charlie Crist and so many other local leaders. Unlike my opponent, I won't try and hide who I am or what I believe. I'm committed to focusing on the issues that matter to our citizens-jobs and economic development for our city, addressing the effects of climate change, and making our community a safer place to live," Mayor Kriseman said.

To view results as they are tallied, visit http://enr.votepinellas.com/FL/Pinellas/71078/188297/en/summary.html

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