St. Petersburg, Fla. — Voters shortened a list of five candidates on Tuesday down to two in the race for St. Pete mayor.
Former Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch will square off against City Councilman Robert Blackmon in the general election on November 2.
WIth 98% of precints reporting, Welch took 39.2% of the vote in the primary.
Blackmon walked away with 28.6%.
“It’s about advancing opportunities. It’s about uplifting neighborhoods. It’s about making sure everyone sees hope, even those who are bound by the impacts of poverty and crime and addiction," Welch told Spectrum Bay News 9 in January, shortly after announcing his candidacy for the seat being vacated by current Mayor Rick Kriseman. "So at this point we’ve come so far as a city, but we need leadership progress that is inclusive. That is authentic towards what makes St. Pete great in the first place, and that’s built on a foundation of equity.”
Blackmon says his priorities are affordable housing, infrastructure and the environment. A registered republican in a strongly Democratic city, he's made headlines for his clashes with Mayor Kriseman, specifically his handling of a defaulted development project on city owned land.
“The fact that you’re even asking me this question goes to show that I was right in what I did,” he said in June in response to a question from Spectrum Bay News 9.
Welch is the son of David Welch, who was elected to the St. Pete City Council in 1981 and ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 1991.