St. Petersburg – If polls are correct, St. Petersburg could have three openly gay city council members come the morning of Nov. 6. Both Darden Rice and Amy Foster are leading their competition in the District 4 and District 8 seats, respectively.
Both women handily won their primaries, with Rice taking 46% of the votes and Foster claiming 56%.
The packed races whittled the field down to two choices in each race. Rice faces Carolyn Fries while Foster runs against Steve Galvin.
This is Rice’s third time running for public office and she is often in the spotlight throughout the community through a number of organizations. Earlier this year she stepped down as the president of the League of Women Voters, a post she held for three years, she’s the chair of the legislative committee of the PSTA transit board and has been active in the Sierra Club and the Gulf Restoration Network.
Foster is the vice president of St. Pete Pride and could take the seat currently occupied by Jeff Danner. Danner can’t seek re-election due to term limits.
The normally friendly atmosphere of St. Petersburg politics was shaken in early October when Galvin issued robocalls to voters that seemed to attack Foster’s sexuality and involvement in St. Pete Pride.
“Steve Galvin has a history of community volunteerism in our city from tutoring at New Heights Elementary to raising money for Gulfcoast Legal Services,” the message said. “His opponent’s major volunteer effort in St. Pete was being vice president of the gay pride parade.”
Interestingly, Galvin participated in St. Pete Pride this year, and had a float in the annual promenade.
The recorded call also criticized Foster for renting a home, rather than owning. Foster explained to the Tampa Bay Times that she has owned in St. Petersburg in the past, and will more than likely own a home in the future.
The other big election day race is for St. Petersburg Mayor, which pits incumbent Bill Foster against challenger Rick Kriseman. Foster has been credited with approving the city’s domestic partnership registry and signing a proclamation for St. Pete Pride, but he said he will not attend the festival because it is too “adult-oriented.”
Kriseman, a former state representative, was a St. Petersburg City Councilman and signed the very first proclamation from the city for the first St. Pete Pride in 2003.
Polls open at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 5.