Post Election Analysis: Just how “Purple” is St. Pete?

Posted On 11/13/2020 by Matt Lettelleir

While President-Elect Biden and his team prepare for transition and Georgians prepare for a dual runoff that will decide the balance of power in the US Senate, the St. Pete Chamber has crunched the numbers on our local results and we’ve found some interesting tidbits not reported elsewhere.


Before we get to results, lets refresh how voter registration breaks down by party affiliation.

There were 192,848 registered voters in St. Petersburg for last week’s election. Of those, 90,542 registered as Democrats (46.95%), 50,881 registered as Republicans (26.38%), and 51,425 as NPA or 3rd Party (26.67%). For reference, in 2016 there were 82,701  registered Democrats (45.58%), 51,113 Registered Republicans (28.17%), and 47,609 registered 3rd Party or NPAs (26.24%).

2016 2020 Gain/Loss
Democrats  82,701 (45.58%)  90,542 (46.95%) 7,841 (9.48%)
Republicans  51,113 (28.17%)  50,881 (26.38%) -232 (-0.45%)
3rd Party/NPA  47,609 (26.24%)  51,425 (26.67%) 3,816 (8.02%)

Turnout and Performance

This election saw a record number of voters turnout to vote. Over 151,000 of the 195,028 eligible voters in St. Pete cast a ballot on or before November 3rd. Of those, 73,484 (48.52%) were Democrats, 42,916 (28.34%) were Republicans, and 35,062 (47.71%) were 3rd Party/NPAs.  Additionally, 71.17% of St. Pete voters were White, 16.95% Black, 4.53% Hispanic, and 7.35% classified as “Other” demographically. 53.7% of voters were Female, 43.68% Male, and 2.95% were classified us “Unknown”.

Compared to the County Turnout, St. Pete had lower overall turnout (70.38% to 77.66%) but did see greater turnout among Black (69.72% to 69.46%) and Hispanic (71.92% to 70.46%) voters.

In terms of Performance (did turnout outperform registration) both Democrats and Republicans outperformed registration while 3rd Party/NPAs underperformed.

Lastly, while Democrats turned out 77.66% of their registered voters in St. Pete, 80.39% of Republicans cast a ballot and only 67.17% of 3rd Party/NPA voters voted.

St. Pete Pinellas County
Overall Turnout 77.66% 79.38%
Democrat Turnout 80.39% 81.31%
Republican Turnout 83.47% 85.43%
3rd Party/NPA Turnout 67.17% 69.61%
White Turnout 81.00% 81.54%
Black Turnout 69.73% 69.46%
Hispanic Turnout 71.92% 70.46%
Female Turnout 79.28% 80.75%
Male Turnout 75.95% 77.79%

Presidential Race

While Joe Biden carried Pinellas County by 1,206 votes (0.22%), his margins were much wider inside the city limits of St. Petersburg where he won 61.01% of the vote and bested President Trump by 37,411 votes.

While this margin is less than the registration advantage Democrats hold over Republicans (90,542 to 50,881), it is still sizable considering Hillary Clinton beat Trump by 31,180 votes (58.75% to 36.13%  in St. Pete in 2016.

Of note, 3rd Party voting was a fraction of what it was in 2016. Only 1.6% of St. Pete voters voted 3rd Party compared to 5.13% in 2016 while Trump and the Democratic nominee both gained vote share.

2016 2020 Gain/Loss
Trump  49,793 (36.13%)  59,190 (37.38%) 9,397 (18.87%)
Clinton/Biden  80,973 (58.75%)  96,601 (61.01%) 15,628 (19.30%)
3rd Party/NPA 7,066 (5.13%) 2,540 (1.6%) -4,526 (-64.05%)

Down Ballot

Interestingly enough, similar spreads occurred in both Countywide County Commission Races. Commissioner Janet Long bested Former State Rep. Larry Ahern by 37,878 (62.45% to 37.55%) votes and Commissioner Charlie Justice held off Tammy Vasquez by 37,675 (62.37% to 37.63%) in St. Pete.

County Commission- District 1 2020 Votes Percent of Total
Larry Ahern- R  57,100 37.55%
Janet Long- D  94,978 62.45%


County Commission- District 3 2020 Votes Percent of Total
Tammy Vasquez- R  57,288 37.63%
Charlie Justice- D  94,963 62.37%

The outliers exist in the Constitutional Officer races where, historically, experience and qualifications outweigh party affiliation in the minds of voters.

Mayor Bob?

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri was the only Republican candidate to best their opponent in St. Petersburg. Sheriff Gualtieri won 79,781 votes (51.62%) while challenger Eliseo Santana received 74,763 (48.38%). The Sheriff does not live in St. Pete so he can’t run for Mayor….but if he did…….?

Sheriff 2020 Votes Percent of Total
Bob Gualtieri- R  79,781 51.62%
Eliseo Santana- D  74,763 48.38%

Property Appraiser

While he won county wide, Mike Twitty struggled in the Sunshine City, garnering 47.69% compared to St. Pete resident Trevor Mallory’s 52.31%.

Property Appraiser 2020 Votes Percent of Total
Mike Twitty- R  73,221 47.69%
Trevor Mallory- D  80,313 52.31%

Tax Collector

Charles Thomas performed 2nd best among the Republican Constitutional Officer candidates receiving 48.54% of the vote. Joseph Saportas won 51.46% in St. Pete but lost countywide with 40.43%.

Tax Collector 2020 Votes Percent of Total
Charles Thomas- R  74,355 48.54%
Joseph Saportas- D  78,819 51.46%

Supervisor of Elections

Appearing on the ballot for the first time, Julie Marcus won the race for Supervisor of Elections countywide with 57.55% of the vote. However, in St. Pete, her opponent Dan Helm did the best among Democrat Constitutional Officer candidates with 52.49% of the vote.

Supervisor of Elections 2020 Votes Percent of Total
Julie Marcus- R  74,995 47.51%
Dan Helm- D  82,870 52.49%

Bluish Purple or Purplish Blue?

In summary, it is clear that in 2020 a supermajority of St. Pete voters voted Democrat at the top of the ticket. Down ballot, it appears the candidates themselves, and not party affiliation played a part in voters decision making. Unfortunately precinct level data is not yet available, but, in Pinellas County as of November 12th, 3rd Party/NPA registrations have increased 2,438 (1.19%) compared to 1,604 (0.63%) for Democrats  and 2,185 (0.87%) for Republicans.

Will a post-Trump Republican Party appeal more to St. Pete voters? Will a President Joe Biden move St. Pete 3rd Party/NPAs to the Democratic Party? These are the questions potential candidates for St. Pete Mayor and City Council must answer in the next few months before qualifying ends on June 18th, 2021.

Category: Advocacy, Featured