Democratic elected officials and consultants tell me today that former state representative Rick Kriseman is on the verge of announcing his candidacy for mayor of Saint Petersburg. A formal decision is ‘imminent,’ says one Dem pol close to Kriseman.
Meanwhile, two sources confirm that Kriseman has hired (or will formally hire once his campaign is up and running) Cesar Fernandez to manage his campaign. Fernandez is a up-and-coming Democratic operative who managed Senator Jeff Clemens win during the 2012 election cycle. After that, Fernandez went to work for the Florida Justice Association, which is advised by Democratic uber consultant Steve Schale. Schale has extensive ties to Rick Kriseman, so it makes perfect sense that Fernandez would go to work on Kriseman’s campaign.
Although a decision and announcement have likely been in the works for months, Kriseman may have accelerated his timetable out of frustration with incumbent Bill Foster’s poor handling of twin crises involving the shuttering of a Sweetbay grocery store in Midtown and the stalemate with the Tampa Bay Rays’ search for a new stadium.
Actually, the word on the street was the Kriseman intended to announce this week, but it’s already Thursday and nothing has happened and none of my colleagues in the local media have been notified about a potential announcement, press conference, rally, etc., so, perhaps, Kriseman is still making up his mind.