Poll asks residents if they'd re-elect Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and pay $350 million for a new Rays stadium

Yesterday, the City of Tampa told TBT that "no dollar figure has been agreed upon" for the proposed stadium.

click to enlarge Tampa Mayor Jane Castor at the Santa Fest this past weekend. - JANE CASTOR/TWITTER
Jane Castor/Twitter
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor at the Santa Fest this past weekend.

A new poll asks Tampeños about the City of Tampa, the Tampa Bay Rays' potential Ybor City stadium and whether or not they'd re-elect Mayor Jane Castor.

It's unclear how many people were polled, but the poll was delivered yesterday to a CL staffer's mobile phone via text message. The poll was commissioned by Mercury Public Affairs.

Public records show that in August, Castor's Tampa Strong PAC paid Mercury $12,000.

The poll hypothetically breaks down specifics of a plan to bring the stadium to Tampa. A question says the Rays would play about 40 games per year, mostly in the early and later part of the season, and the other half in Montreal. The hypothetical plan also says the Rays would pay for half the cost of the new ballpark, adding that the other half—about $350 million— would come from public revenue sources such as new property and sales taxes from development in the ballpark district and some form of a tourist tax.

"Would you support or oppose a Rays ballpark plan like this?" the poll asks. The question is notable because the mayor has yet to publicly comment on taxpayers footing half the bill on a new stadium.

Yesterday, Adam Smith, Communications Director at the City of Tampa, told his former Tampa Bay Times colleague Charlie Frago that "no dollar figure has been agreed upon."
Smith added that Castor's staff is still working on "a workable financial package" with Hillsborough County and the Tampa Sports Authority and that the package would be "ready soon."

click to enlarge A question is a recent poll about Tampa Mayor Jane Castor. - SCREENSHOT BY CL TAMPA BAY
Screenshot by CL Tampa Bay
A question is a recent poll about Tampa Mayor Jane Castor.

Nationally, the value of sports arenas has come under serious challenge. Castor has dismissed sports economists who've wondered out loud about whether or not a new baseball stadium bring significant economic development to a city.

Castor is not up for re-election until 2023 and has yet to draw an opponent, but the poll twice asks if the poll taker would re-elect Castor—once toward the beginning, and again at the end. Between the first time the poll taker is asked and the second, the wording of poll questions celebrates the mayor, who defeated since-deceased David A. Straz in a 2019 runoff.

On one page of the poll, Castor is described as a "take-charge" and "courageous" leader who's "attacking crime," with the phrases underlined to draw the reader's attention to the words. The poll taker is left to make their own decision, from very positive to negative.

click to enlarge A question in a recent poll about Tampa Mayor Jane Castor. - SCREENSHOT BY CL TAMPA BAY
Screenshot by CL Tampa Bay
A question in a recent poll about Tampa Mayor Jane Castor.

After the poll taker has made selections, they are asked to answer this question in their own words: "After hearing this about Jane Castor, what would you say is her biggest strength...the thing she does best as Mayor?"

The poll also brings up Castor's controversial crime free multi-housing program, asking if the poll taker has heard of it and if they support it.

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About The Author

Justin Garcia

Justin Garcia previously wrote for the USA Today Network, The Economic Hardship Reporting Project, Scalawag Magazine, and various other news outlets. When he's not writing, Justin likes to make music, read, play basketball and spend time with loved ones. 

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