Castor Crushes Straz to Become Tampa’s Next Mayor
The historic victory by Jane Castor marks the first election of an openly LGBTQ+ mayor in the history of Tampa––Florida’s third largest city.
TAMPA – Former Tampa police chief Jane Castor was elected mayor of Tampa on Tuesday(April 23) night, in a decisive and historic victory in the runoff mayoral election.
In unofficial results, with all precincts reporting, Castor polled about 73 percent of the vote with 38,854 ballots to David Straz’s 27 percent or 14.290 ballots.
In remarks to supporters during her acceptance speech, Jane Castor echoed the themes of optimism that she sustained throughout the year-long campaign.
“I am eternally grateful to all of our supporters, volunteers, staff, and my family for helping make this possible. I have never been more hopeful about Tampa’s future than I am this evening. Tonight, we begin a new chapter in Tampa’s history and I could not be more excited to be a part of it. Tomorrow, the real work begins, because though we have accomplished so much, there is still so much to be done,” she said..
From the start of the campaign April 19, 2018 to the end, Castor kept to an upbeat and inclusive message focused on taking Tampa to the next level by improving public transportation, making housing more affordable, and ensuring that Tampa’s current prosperity is felt equally in every neighborhood and community in the city. Born and raised in Tampa, Castor was best known for her more than 30 years’ service on the Tampa police force, during which she also served for six years as the city’s first woman police chief.
The historic victory marks the first election of an openly LGBTQ+ mayor in the history of Tampa––Florida’s third largest city. The victory also came two months after the general mayoral election, in which Castor overcame a seven-way field with 48 percent of the vote, just two points shy of winning outright, which triggered a runoff election.
Castor’s campaign was endorsed by a wide array of influential organizations and individuals: unions (SEIU, AFL-CIO, the local firefighters, teachers, and police), to LGBT advocacy groups, including LPAC, the Human Rights Campaign, and Equality Florida. Three former mayors, including current Mayor Bob Buckhorn, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa; and the majority of the Tampa city council and county school board.
Castor ended her remarks by urging her supporters to come together to build a better Tampa, “We have an opportunity to build something really special here in Tampa, where we create a city that we will be proud to pass on to generations to come.”
In other voting, Joseph Citro won the District 1 seat on the Tampa City Council with about 57 percent of the vote to Walter L. Smith II’s 43 percent. John Dingfelder took Seat 3 on the council with about 64 percent of the vote to Stephen Lytle’s 36 percent. And Orlando Gudes squeaked out a victory for the District 5 council seat with about 51 percent of the vote to Jeffrey L. Rhodes’ 49 percent.
All results are unofficial. In accordance with Florida statutes, election results will be certified after provisional ballots are canvassed at 5 p.m. Thursday (April 25).
Jane Castor | David Straz | Tampa Elections | Politics | TB Reporter
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