St. Petersburg, FL -- With the State Democratic Party already spending thousands of dollars to help Rick Kriseman become the next mayor of St. Petersburg, State Senator Jack Latvala took to Facebook Wednesday saying it's time the GOP does more to help Bill Foster get re-elected.
"Congratulations to my friend Mayor Bill Foster for leading the race for St. Pete Mayor into the runoff. Here's hoping that the folks who run my political party in Tallahassee will wake up and give Bill the kind of help that the Democrats have given Rick Kriseman in the primary. Sure it's a nonpartisan race but are we supposed to leave our guy alone on the battlefield while the other side gangs up on him? Bill Foster is the last big city mayor in Florida who happens to be a registered Republican. Don't think for one minute that doesn't play a big part in the tens of thousands of dollars the Florida Democratic Party has put into this nonpartisan race!" Latvala wrote.
A Foster operative tells 10 News the Democratic Party has already contributed more than $30,000 to help Kriseman in his race for mayor while the Republican Party has kicked in less than $1,000 to the Foster campaign.
Foster is a Republican and Kriseman is a Democrat. The two will face each other on Nov. 5 after being the top two vote getters in Tuesday's mayoral election.
But Tampa Bay Times Political Editor Adam Smith says while the position of mayor is supposed to be a non-partisan post, it's understandable why the Democratic Party wants to capture the spot.
"City elections are about the one bright spot for Democrats in this state and they have consistently played hard in those for the last few years," Smith said.
Smith went on to explain capturing the mayorships of Florida's larger cities helps the Democratic Party build its bench of future statewide candidates. Plus, he says, you can't underestimate the value in having a Democratic mayor in a city that helps anchor the western edge of the I-4 corridor.
St. Petersburg is currently the second largest city, behind only Miami with a Republican mayor.
Given all that, Smith says he would not be surprised if the GOP decides to give Foster more help in his race against Kriseman.
"I wouldn't be surprised if the Republican Party, with some prodding from people like Jack Latvala, says you know what, this could have some political repercussions for other races, the next Presidential race, the next Governor's race, let's make sure we have a Republican in the mayor's office."