Ernisa Barnwell loses her bid to get back on ballot in St. Pete mayor's race
Ernisa Barnwell’s quixotic bid to become St. Petersburg’s mayor is over.
Barnwell, 40, decided to run for the city’s highest office after a dispute with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department over her hair-braiding business.
After she bounced her $250 qualifying check, City Clerk Chan Srinivasa disqualified her from the ballot in June. Her name will still appear on the ballot for the Aug. 29 primary, but an accompanying note advises residents that any vote for Barnwell won’t be counted.
Barnwell said the city owed her money and should have covered her qualifying fee from those disputed funds. She took the city to court in July, representing herself.
On Wednesday morning, Judge Thomas Minkoff dismissed her injunction, said assistant city attorney Joseph Patner.
The mayor’s race this year has been punctuated by long-shot candidates making waves. Uhuru-affiliated candidate Jesse Nevel’s supporters shut down a candidate forum in early July, which ended in a melee between Uhurus and supporters of Theresa “Momma Tee” Lassiter.
A week later, perennial fringe candidate Paul Congemi made national news by telling Nevel’s supporters “to go back to Africa.”
Anthony Cates III, who has run previously for mayor netting, like Congemi, a handful of votes, has asserted without evidence that the city’s water supply is tainted and vowed to remain mayor for life before handing the office over to his children.
Meanwhile, the two front runners, Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker have already decimated previous fundraising records, raising more than $1.5 million between them.