Candidates eye 16-point polling spread as St. Pete's mayoral race enters final week

Candidates to be St. Petersburg's new mayor have less than one week until residents go to the polls.

Former Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch (Democrat) has a 16-point lead over opponent Republican Robert Blackmon. according to Florida Politics.  

"You play to the last whistle, and we are going to continue to run right until the last ballot is cast 7p.m.," Welch told FOX 13 Wednesday.  

Welch has the endorsements, backed by Mayor Rick Kriseman and Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, as well as Republican Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.  

Blackmon has painted himself as more of a fiscal conservative and says the polls don’t bother him. 

"A poll like that excites me," Blackmon told FOX 13 Wednesday. "I like the idea of being the underdog. It’s always the position you want to be in. I’m always happy to have people underestimate me." 

Both are running on platforms of fixing and improving St. Pete’s affordable housing problem and crime. Also, redeveloping the Tropicana Field site in a way that brings the city together.    

Welch points to his track record as a commissioner, creating workforce housing. Blackmon says, unlike his opponent, he isn’t a career politician and has a cheaper plan to fix St. Pete’s aging city marina.   

St. Pete is made up of about 88,000 Democrats, 50,000 Republicans, and 52,000 independent or third-party voters.   

The election is Tuesday and polls close at 7 p.m.