ST. PETERSBURG — Rick Baker officially lowered expectations in the mayoral race on Tuesday, saying his “battle for the future of the city” against Mayor Rick Kriseman might last until November.

Baker has consistently led in local polls and fundraising totals this summer. But at a fundraiders held a week before the Aug. 29 primary, he struck a somber tone in front of about 75 supporters at 400 Beach, a Beach Drive restaurant owned by supporter Steve Westphal.

There are six mayoral candidates on the ballot, Baker explained, and that will make it difficult for any candidate to get more than 50 percent of the vote. A candidate who exceeds 50 percent of the vote on Aug. 29 would win office outright.

“It think it’s going to tighten up,” Baker said, adding that his campaign is lining up fundraisers and making preparations for September and October. The general election is Nov. 7.

Baker spent much of his time Tuesday evening criticizing Kriseman for running a partisan campaign for an officially nonpartisan office.

Baker, a Republican, said he wants to unify the city. Kriseman, he said, wants to divide up residents into separate categories and only govern for those constituencies who support him.

Kriseman has said he makes no apologies for embracing Democratic policies and campaigning with prominent Democrats.



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