Rays get political attention - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken News, Weather, Sports

Rays get political attention

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ST. PETERSBURG, FL (WFLA) - The Rays will be playing in front of a sold-out crowd on Tropicana Field for a do-or-die game with the Red Sox Monday night, but the team also is playing a big role in local politics.

What to do about building a new stadium for the Rays and keeping the team in St. Petersburg is an issue in the upcoming mayoral race. Attendance problems continue to plague the team with a fan base that seems to support the Rays, but don't fill seats at the stadium. The question up for discussion is whether a new stadium in Tampa would increase ticket sales.

Incumbent Mayor Bill Foster has been in a virtual stalemate with team owners.  He has repeatedly said St. Petersburg has a contract with the Rays and he needs to protect taxpayers interests.

Monday his opponent Richard Kriseman said if  he is elected, his job would be to protect taxpayers and do whatever is necessary to keep the team in St. Petersburg. 

When pressed for ways he would approach it differently than Foster, Kriseman said the team had lost trust in the current leadership, and a new face would be best to further negotiations.

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