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It’s her race to lose: Jane Castor appears to be cruising to victory in the Tampa mayoral race.

Tampa Bay

LGBTQ community is behind Jane Castor for Tampa Mayor

LPAC, Equality Florida PAC and LGBTQ Victory Fund all offered their support.

A trio of LGBTQ organizations is backing Jane Castor for Tampa Mayor.

LPAC, a group dedicated to electing LGBTQ women, Equality Florida PAC and LGBTQ Victory Fund all offered their support Thursday.

“Jane Castor is exactly the leader LPAC champions,” said executive director, Stephanie Sandberg. “She’s a fearless advocate for equal rights and social justice, leading from a place of deep experience. I have no doubt that Jane will lead Tampa with same tenacity, vision and fortitude that she is known for while running the police department. LPAC is excited to have such a strong woman candidate who will ensure our values are protected.”

Castor is the only woman in the seven-way race to succeed Bob Buckhorn as Tampa Mayor. She’s also the only openly gay candidate.

“Jane Castor represents a breakthrough moment in the movement for LGBTQ representation in Florida and is leading the wave of LGBTQ women stepping up to serve,” said Joe Saunders, Senior Political Director for Equality Florida. “Electing a strong, seasoned and tested leader like Jane to one of Florida’s most influential local posts is a game changer for LGBTQ Floridians. Jane’s race is a top priority for Equality Florida Action PAC. We’re going to use every tool we have to support her historic campaign.”

In addition to leading the charge for LGBTQ leadership in government, Castor also served as Tampa’s first female police chief. A win in the mayoral race would make her one of just a handful of LGBTQ women running major U.S. cities.

“As a former big-city mayor, I understand well the qualifications and temperament necessary to successfully run a city like Tampa, and Jane Castor has what it takes,” said former Houston Mayor Annise Parker, now President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund. “When you are Chief of Police, there is no papering over your job performance because you are constantly held accountable — as are mayors — and Jane has proved herself an extraordinary public servant.”

Parker said Castor’s experience heading a large agency prepares her well for the duties facing a mayor. She said Castor’s election would not only be historic, but it would also be invaluable.

“As the experiences of LGBTQ people make them more empathetic, values-driven leaders,” Parker said.

The three groups come with a potential funding boost for Castor’s campaign. LPAC spent $1.5 million supporting candidates and issues during the 2018 election cycle. The LGBTQ Victory Fund spent more than $100,000 and the Equality Florida PAC spent more than $500,000 over the last decade.

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“I am so excited and proud to accept the endorsements of LPAC, Equality Florida Action PAC and the LGBTQ Victory Fund — three incredible organizations devoted to advancing equality across the state and country. As Tampa’s next Mayor, I am committed to fighting to make our city, which I love so much, an even more welcoming and accepting place,” Castor said.

Equality Florida Action PAC is Florida’s largest political committee working to elect pro-equality candidates.

LGBTQ Victory Fund works to change the face and voice of America’s politics and achieve equality for LGBTQ Americans by increasing the number of openly LGBTQ elected officials at all levels of government.

Castor has been raking in endorsements including from the local PBA, Hillsborough County Property Appraiser Bob Henriquez and Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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