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Politics / Issues

Tampa Voters Go To Polls Tuesday; Runoff For Mayor Likely

Steve Newborn
WUSF Public Media

Voters in the city of Tampa will go to the polls Tuesday to select a new mayor to replace Bob Buckhorn, who's being term-limited out of office. The odds are the race will go to a runoff.

Seven candidates are vying to become the next mayor, and former Police Chief Jane Castor is far ahead in most polls. But she may not get more than the 50 percent needed to avoid a second round of voting.  Political journalist William March says businessman David Straz has been in second place to Castor in most of the polls.

"And at least some of the voters who favored the other candidates besides her - at least some of them would coalesce around her opponent," he said. "So the big question in the race right now is who will be in the runoff with Castor - assuming she doesn't make 50 percent."

March says that may be in part because of Castor's name recognition among voters.

"Her lead in the polls is partly because of her prior position," he said. "People tend to trust a police chief. Another reason is I think probably simply because her name - Castor is a big name around here. She is not related to the Castor family - or only distantly related - to Betty and Kathy Castor - that helps out a lot. Being the only woman in the field doesn't hurt."

- Click here to read the candidate's responses to a list of questions from WUSF -

The other candidates besides Castor and Straz are former Hillsborough County Commissioner Ed Turanchik, city council members Harry Cohen and Mike Suarez, former Judge  Dick Greco Jr. and businessman Topher Morrison.

March says who will come in second place Tuesday is too close to call.

"Straz could have a chance of being the runoff candidate," he said. "Most people are saying Turanchik, Cohen or Greco. But certainly Straz could have a chance and nobody's predictions are going to be reliable beyond Castor leading the pack."

If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two finishers will duke it out again in a runoff on April 23rd.

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