Former Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor easily won the mayoral runoff on Tuesday, routing businessman David Straz.
Castor was a heavy favorite after taking 48 percent in the first round early last month, just short of the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff. Straz placed a distant second at 15.5 percent but survived to move on to the runoff. With 73 percent, Castor had no problems winning the runoff on Tuesday.
“I am eternally grateful to all of our supporters, volunteers, staff, and my family for helping make this possible. I have never been more hopeful about Tampa’s future than I am this evening. Tonight, we begin a new chapter in Tampa’s history and I could not be more excited to be a part of it. Tomorrow, the real work begins, because though we have accomplished so much, there is still so much to be done,” said Castor who served more than three decades in law enforcement in Tampa.
Castor garnered the support of much of the city’s political leadership including retiring Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla.
With her win, Castor becomes the first openly gay mayor of a major city in the Southeast, something Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Terri Rizzo noted on Tuesday night. While Castor has ties to the Democrats, the race was non-partisan.
“Jane Castor’s historic victory is a clear win for Tampa and cements her status as a rising star in the Democratic Party,” Rizzo said. “Jane made history by running a campaign that was optimistic, substantive, and laser-focused on expanding opportunity for everyone. Jane’s historic and overwhelming victory is just the latest sign that Tampa has become a vibrant, welcoming city where everyone has a shot to succeed — no matter who you love.”
“We have an opportunity to build something really special here in Tampa, where we create a city that we will be proud to pass on to generations to come,” Castor said on Tuesday night.
Kevin Derby can be reached at Kevin.Derby@floridadaily.com.