St. Petersburg City Council member Robert Blackmon debuted the first television ad of his General Election campaign Friday as he runs for the city’s mayoral seat.
The 30-second ad, titled “Together,” highlights Blackmon’s history of bipartisanship — an important distinction to make as a registered Republican running in a city with a statistical Democratic advantage.
“Liberals and conservatives seldom share the same room, let alone the same ideas,” Blackmon narrates. “It shouldn’t work that way, and it doesn’t have to — I’m Robert Blackmon. I promised a campaign on my solutions, not my opponents’ problems.”
The ad, which features Blackmon speaking directly to the viewer, showcases his success in garnering funding for the St. Pete Science Center by working with politicos across the political spectrum and tiers of government.
“While leading the effort to save the St. Pete Science Center, I worked with Republicans and Democrats. As mayor, I’ll do the same thing,” Blackmon continues in the ad, which flashes clips of the center and of Blackmon walking and talking with constituents. “I’m Robert Blackmon, and together, we can build a St. Pete for all.”
This is Blackmon’s first ad in the General Election, and it directly follows the release of opponent Ken Welch’s first General Election ad. The two are going head-to-head for the open mayoral seat to replace current Mayor Rick Kriseman, who is leaving office because of term limits.
And, with the debut of TV ads, the race is heating up as Election Day approaches Nov. 2.
Although the mayoral race is nonpartisan — candidates’ political affiliations don’t appear on the ballot — it’s no secret where they align, especially when looking at endorsers.
“Since the beginning, my campaign has focused on achieving common goals that all St. Pete residents can be proud of accomplishing, like bringing back the St. Pete Science Center, protecting our environment and ensuring there are options for affordable housing in our community,” Blackmon said in a statement.
Among the city’s nearly 190,000 registered voters, more than 88,000 are Democrats while fewer than 50,000 are Republicans, according to the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections. And a new poll reflects that disadvantage, with Blackmon trailing Welch 17 points.
The partisan nature of the election puts Blackmon in a tough place statistically, making his push for bipartisanship an important note in his campaign. Blackmon’s campaign has offered unique solutions for local issues like the environment, affordable housing and city services.
The pair were chosen after finishing first and second in a crowded field in the Aug. 24 Primary.