Jane Castor, David Straz roll out dueling endorsements in Tampa mayor race

Political endorsement - large

Former police chief Jane Castor and businessman David Straz each unleashed a slate of endorsements from local associations and leaders Friday as the race to succeed Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn heats up.

Castor’s crop included former police chiefs Steve Hogue and Bennie Holder, former assistant police chiefs Bob Guidara and Mary O’Connor as well as former Tampa fire chief Tom Forward. The quintet of veteran first responders announced their support outside of the R.I.C.H. House at Robles Park.

Houge attested to Castor’s work as the assistant chief when he held the top job at the police department, saying that “running a large organization with a large budget like the department successfully is no easy task, but it was one Jane performed flawlessly.”

“I’m proud to be voting for Jane for Mayor this March—with her proven leadership at the helm, I know that Tampa will be in good hands,” he continued.

Holder touted Castor’s leadership “on and off the force,” while O’Connor said that Castor “is not only an incredible leader, a role model and a friend, but also a mentor when I first began my career in law enforcement.” Forward, meanwhile, lauded Castor for her charitable work through the non-profit she started, Rise Tampa.

“Through her work supporting places like the R.I.C.H House or the new Police Athletic League Community Center, Chief Castor has helped ensure our children have a safe place to go after school to be kids, play sports, and meet. That type of service speaks a lot about the kind of person that she is, and the type of great leader she will be as our city’s next Mayor,” he said.

Around the same time Castor announced her endorsements, Straz announced five of his own.

“I’ve been meeting with groups across the city and I’m humbled to receive the early endorsements of these organizations,” he said. “When I meet with these groups, I speak from the heart about my desire to make Tampa a better, stronger place to live, start and run a business and raise a family.”

Lining up behind the retired banker and philanthropist were five labor unions: The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 824, the Northwest Florida Chapter of Black Women in Construction, United Food and Commercial Workers 1625, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 487-District 925, and Plumbers & Pipefitters Local Union 123.

“David Straz has a commitment to the people of Tampa that is unsurpassed and inspiring,” said Todd Vega of Plumbers & Pipefitters union. “Job creation and growth along with citywide improvements in areas where the residents need it most are a few of the priorities David communicated to us. We feel that David Straz has the experience, work ethic and vision needed to move Tampa forward.”

Ed Chambers, President of UFCW Local 1625, said his group was “very impressed with David Straz because he loves the City of Tampa and is not using the mayor’s office as a stepping stone to higher office.”

IUOE Local 487’s business agent, Jim Junecko added that Straz “will be a tremendous leader and steward of the working class,” and Katina McClinton of Black Women in Construction said the organization carefully reviewed all the candidates in the crowded race for mayor and determined Straz was the best fit.

Castor and Straz are running competing with City Councilman Harry CohenSam GibbonsMichael HazardLaVaughn King, businessman Topher Morrison, City Councilman Mike Suarez and former County Commissioner Ed Turanchik in the mayoral race.

The candidates are set to participate in a Walk Bike Tampa mayoral forum on transportation safety next week, where the candidates will detail their ideas on pedestrian and cyclist safety, including plants to create walkable spaces and improve neighborhood sidewalks.

The mayoral election is March 5, 2019. The new mayor will take office on April 1, 2019.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of FloridaPolitics.com, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as 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. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.


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