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Castor, Straz Pulling No Punches In Runoff For Tampa Mayor

Jane Castor, left, and David Straz
Campaign photos
Jane Castor, left, and David Straz are running to become mayor of Tampa.

A lot of ads for Tampa mayor are saturating TV sets throughout the Tampa Bay area. And they show there's little being held back between businessman David Straz and former Tampa police chief Jane Castor.

Money is greasing the wheels of this campaign. In the runup to March's first round of voting, Castor had raised over $1 million. Straz raised $4.7 million - a record, by far.

And in April alone, Straz lent his own campaign $600,000, according to campaign finance reports.

All this for a job that pays $160,000 a year.

Castor got the nearly 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff in March, but only one out of every five of the city's voters went to the polls. Which candidate can get out the vote the most should determine who wins on Tuesday.

Straz, who is trailing in the polls, has gone on the offensive, embarking on what Castor has decried as negative campaigning. He has taken her to task on her claims about reduced crime when she was police chief, and she in turn says he has no concrete answers when asked about the issues.

Straz has campaigned with a broom in his hand, saying he'll sweep out waste and corruption in the city, and has vowed to cut 10 percent of the city's budget. But he has declined to name what he'll cut, saying he'll undertake an audit of the city's finances after becoming mayor.

A recent poll gave Castor 64 percent of the vote to Straz's 28 percent. That poll found the public's top concerns in the race are public transportation, education and access to health care.

WUSF Public Media asked the candidates for Tampa Mayor to answer a questionnaire outlining their stands on some of the major issues facing the city.

The questions focused on critical issues including transportation, affordable housing, growth, the attraction of high-paying tech jobs. They also were asked about their vision for the city.

Here's the response from former Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor.

Here's the response from businessman David Straz.

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.