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Photo by Dave Decker
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor at Plant Hall on the University of Tampa in Tampa, Florida on Feb. 9, 2023.
In her race against virtually nobody
, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor cruised to a second term, earning 80.14% of the vote. The landslide victory Tuesday night was no surprise; in 2015, Castor’s predecessor, incumbent Mayor Bob Buckhorn, ran against only a write-in candidate and earned 96% of the vote.
Still, nearly 20% of all voters wrote in somebody-else in the 2023 mayoral race (Creative Loafing Tampa Bay has put in a public records request to see exactly who Tampeños wrote in).
In a statement, Castor said she was honored and humbled to be re-elected, cited sewage system projects like P.I.P.E.S, and added that “our work is far from over.”
Castor’s victory arrived at the end of an awkward election cycle where she endorsed ousted State Senator Janet Cruz
—the mother of her own partner, Ana Cruz—in the District 3 City Council race
. Janet came in second on Tuesday behind incumbent Lynn Hurtak who earned 42.52% of the vote in the citywide contest—the two will compete in a runoff that culminates on Election Day, April 25.
In all, Castor endorsed four candidates in this year’s city council race, including two who lost their races on Tuesday night.
The mayor, a Democrat, also backed McDonald’s heir and Republican Blake Casper
, who lost handily
to incumbent and vocal critic of the mayor Bill Carlson. Last week, Casper, who ran a “law & order” campaign, was busted using his Bayshore Blvd properties as un-permitted commercial sites
for his local businesses.
Joe Citro, incumbent in District 1
, was endorsed by Castor, and didn’t even make the runoff.
With all precincts reporting on Tuesday night, Gwen Henderson—who Castor endorsed over District 5 incumbent Orlando Gudes
—held a 75 vote lead. Representatives at the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections told CL “the canvassing board will determine whether a recount is required based on the first unofficial results certified thurs night.” Still, the Tampa Bay Times
says that, “Should nothing change with the counting of any provisional ballots, Henderson’s margin of victory would be more than the half-percent that would trigger an automatic recount.”
Castor's victory also comes in the wake of nasty attack mailers criticizing Carlson, Gudes and Hurtak who’ve all been unafraid to oppose the mayor on a myriad of issues including more police accountability, more aggressive assistance for renters and the balance of power between the City of Tampa’s executive and legislative branches.
One neighborhood association even threatened legal action
over a mailer sent by Jason Blank’s Comite Politico in Ft. Lauderdale; Blank and committees associated with him have been major donors to Janet Cruz’s past campaigns, her PAC and current city council race, the Tampa Bay Times reported