New poll shows Jane Castor dominating rest of the field in race to succeed Bob Buckhorn

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It’s Jane Castor‘s city. The rest of y’all are just living in it.

That’s the reality of the campaign to succeed Bob Buckhorn as Tampa’s next mayor according to the first poll conducted since all five of expected major candidates filed to run.

Castor, the city’s former police chief, dominates the rest of the field, capturing just over 47 percent of the vote when Tampa voters are asked who they will vote for in 2019. The other four candidates — Ed Turanchik, David Straz, Mike Suarez, and Harry Cohen — are all in single digits. Two other candidates — businessman Topher Morrison and Michael Hazard — were not included in the poll.

This latest poll’s findings are even more impressive for Castor than a survey taken in June 2017 which showed Castor winning a third of voters’ support in a five-way field.

If there’s any storyline among the other four candidates, it’s that Turanchik, a progressive former member of the Hillsborough County Commission, is in second place ahead of Straz, the wealthy philanthropist who has spent the better part of the last year preparing to enter the race.

Castor’s lead is so large, she dominates all demographic breakdowns of the survey. However, it’s noteworthy that she particularly dominates the sampling of responses from black voters. She’s the early choice of 57 percent of this demo. Castor has been criticized for a program meant to make high-crime areas of the city safer when it ticketed more black bicyclists than anyone else. Castor told the Tampa Bay Times that those citations were a mistake.

Castor announced earlier this week she eclipsed the $250K-raised mark for her campaign. Both Straz and Turanchik have also demonstrated an ability to raise serious funds for their bid.

St. Pete Polls conducted the survey Thursday, May 10; it was commissioned by Florida Politics to set a baseline for future surveys of the race. Florida Politics expects to poll the field once a month between now and Election Day.

The survey had a sample size of 424 respondents, with a 4.8 percent margin of error.

Tampa voters will head to the polls March 5, 2019.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


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