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It's Welch Vs. Blackmon For St. Petersburg Mayor

man with glasses in a billboard type announcement
KenWelch.com; Blackmon4StPete.com
Ken Welch was the top vote-getter in Tuesday's St. Petersburg Mayoral primary.

Less than one-third of the city's registered voters took part in Tuesday's primaries, according to the Pinellas Supervisor of Elections office.

It'll be Ken Welch versus Robert Blackmon for St. Petersburg Mayor during November's general election.

Unofficial results placed Welch, a longtime Pinellas County Commissioner, as the top vote-getter in Tuesday's primary with 39% of the vote. Second was city councilman Blackmon, with 29%.

The top two finishers get to square off against each other during the runoff on Nov. 2.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS: St. Petersburg mayoral and city council results

The winner will replace Mayor Rick Kriseman, who could not run again because of term limits.

City Council member Darden Rice came in third with 17%, and former state Representative Wengay Newton was fourth, with 7%.

Welch said he's looking forward to the upcoming election campaign.

"Well, we're feeling good. We think our message of inclusive progress and straight talk resonated with the citizens of St. Pete," he said after the results came in.

"I've found that to be very effective over the years. Folks want you to level with them and talk about the issues and how we could move forward as a community."

If he's elected in November, Welch would become the city's first Black mayor.

"It shows, you know, what can be achieved in our nation, based on qualifications," he said. "But you know, I was the second African-American county commissioner in Pinellas County's history. So we're still, you know, breaking barriers to this day, but we're making progress."

In the races for city council, the two candidates with the most votes advance to November's election.

In District 1, Bobbie Shay Lee and Copley Gerdes were running neck and neck, each with just over 33% of the vote.

In District 4, it'll be Lisset Hanewicz versus Tom Mullins.

In District 8, the two top finishers were Richie Floyd and Jeff Danner.

Turnout was about 29%, according to the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections office.

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.