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Foster Out, Kriseman In as St. Petersburg Mayor

St. Petersburg is getting a new mayor. 

And so is Lakeland. 

Incumbent Bill Foster conceded in his quest for re-election, and has become a one-term mayor. The new mayor - Rick Kriseman, who captured 56 percent of the vote, to 44 percent for Foster.

In his concession speech, Foster said he's not upset at the will of the voters.

"Disappointed yes, but upset, no," he said, "because God's got some incredible things for me, for my wife, for my daughter, for my son and for the city of St. Petersburg."

Kriseman, a Democrat, is a former city councilman and state representative. He'll take office in several months and pledged to work with Foster during the transition.

Bill Foster's not smiling any more.

"Bill Foster is an honorable man, who fought hard in this campaign," he said in his victory speech. "He's given years of service to St. Petersburg, and I know that he loves this city, and in his heart, he wants us to succeed. And that's why I'm committed to working with him during this transition, and while I'm mayor."

St. Petersburg City Council:

Also in St. Petersburg, incumbent Jim Kennedy beat Lorraine Margeson,  62 to 38 percent in the race for City Council District 2. In the race for District 4, Darden Rice won over Carolyn Fries, 55 to 45 percent. Incumbent Karl Nurse soundly defeated Sharon Russ for District 6, 70 to 30 percent. And in District 8, Amy Foster is beating Steve Galvin by a margin of 67 to 33 percent.

Clearwater referendum:

Just up U.S. 19 in Clearwater, a referendum that would sell the downtown city hall and lease it to construct a new Clearwater Aquarium won, 55 to 45 percent.

Lakeland Mayor, Council:

In the race for mayor of Lakeland, incumbent Mayor Gow Fields was defeated in his quest for re-election, trailing City Councilman Howard Wiggs, 53 to 47 percent.

"We worked hard, we believe we ran a clean campaign, stuck to the issues, didn't go negative in any way," Fields said after the decision was announced, "and we believe that's what people wanted us to do."

And in the contest for Lakeland City Council District 1, the top two vote-getters were Ricky Shirah, with 30 percent, and Jim Malless, with 26 percent. Michael W. Tamney came in third, with 25 percent.

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