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Politics / Issues

Castor, Straz Head To Run-Off Election For Tampa Mayor

There will be a runoff election April 23 to decide who will be the next mayor of Tampa. On Tuesday, former Police Chief Jane Castor got just under the 50 percent of the vote she needed to become mayor outright.

With 48 percent of the vote, she'll face off with second-place candidate David Straz.

Castor told the crowd gathered at The Vault in downtown Tampa that she's thankful for their help - but it's not over yet.

"This city is going to change more in the next 10 years than it has in my entire life," she said. "And we have one opportunity - one opportunity to create that city that we all want to live and work in. That city that we'll be proud to pass off to the next generation. So I'm looking for your assistance in building that next great city."

Castor touched on her campaign promises of improving the city's mass transit network, keeping housing affordable and focusing on home-grown businesses. And she said she's not taking anything for granted - she ran this campaign as if she was chasing from behind, and will continue to do so until the runoff on April 23rd.

"Tampa's continued success requires an effective leader who can get things done. And I am the individual with that knowledge, that skill, that experience to take Tampa successfully into the future," she said. "I don't take anything for granted. When we ran this, we said we said that we would run this as if we were chasing from behind. And we've run that every single day, and we'll continue to do that."

At another election watch party the same night at Zoo Tampa of Lowry Park,  runner-up David Straz celebrated getting just over 15 percent of the votes. He said he has no doubt that over the next month he'll convince voters to support him. 

Straz touted investing in the public transit system, looking at how private-public partnerships could grow affordable housing, doing away with red light cameras, buying new ambulances and creating a "Quality of Life Cabinet" made up of the six city departments: Police, Fire, Neighborhood Empowerment, Parks and Recreation, and Minority Business Development and Economic Opportunity.

He had some harsh words for opponent Castor, whose department came under fire after a Tampa Bay Times investigation raised the issue of racial profiling in bicycle stops.

"I will end any policy in Tampa that relies upon racial profiling,  and we all remember Jane Castor’s 'biking while black policy' that she continues to defend."

Straz told supporters at the zoo he is ready to clean out city hall with a city-wide audit and hard look at finances. 

"We came in second and I've never done this before. I've never been a politician and I'm not one now, but I beat all the politicians that were in this. That shows you what the people want."

Straz changed from no party affiliation to Democrat last year before announcing his run for mayor.

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Credit Daylina Miller / WUSF Public Media
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WUSF Public Media
David Straz at Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park