Barack Obama endorses Rick Kriseman's re-election – Florida Politics (blog)
Former President Barack Obama is throwing his support behind St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman.
Obama’s rare intervention in a Florida nonpartisan municipal race is an effort to boost Democratic turnout days before a primary that will likely force a runoff in November.
In the late summer contest, Kriseman’s support has wavered among African-Americans, a group that helped propel him to victory in 2013. By putting his thumb on the scales, Obama will likely help Kriseman among blacks and ensure the incumbent will survive to a runoff.
The Florida Democratic Party is also desperate for a win in St. Petersburg, after a streak of losses in the wake of Donald Trump’s surprise victory in the Sunshine State last year, where he edged Hillary Clinton by a single percentage point. Florida represented a crucial win for Trump on the path to the presidency.
Trump has historic unfavorability among St. Peterburg voters, with just 37 percent approving and 61 percent disapproving of the president. In contrast, Obama is well-liked, with 61 percent approval, with 35 percent disapproving.
Among African-American voters, Obama’s approval is solid at 92-8 percent.
Kriseman has become a top priority of the FDP, with Democrats linking the unpopular Trump to Republican candidate Rick Baker, the former two-term St. Petersburg mayor who has led the race since entering in May. Recent polling puts Baker within reach of 50 percent in the primary, giving him the seat outright.
During the campaign, Baker has been coy about his support of Trump, refusing to discuss whether he voted for the real estate mogul. Democrats have latched onto Baker’s reticence, pointing out Kriseman’s history of blasting Trump — most famously by “barring” the president-elect from St. Petersburg in a December tweet.
I am hereby barring Donald Trump from entering St. Petersburg until we fully understand