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Mike Suarez launches pro-West Tampa TV ad

“In West Tampa, lifelong friends gather over Café con Leche and Cuban toast.”

Mike Suarez is airing a new television ad on Spectrum cable channels this week. The ad, which launches Tuesday, features West Tampa and its time-honored traditions.

The ad opens with Suarez sitting at a table with friends.

“In West Tampa, lifelong friends gather over Café con Leche and Cuban toast,” Suarez says, punctuating the city’s morning beverage staple with perfect Cuban pitch.

The ad is jovial and elicits a sense of community and history.

The 30-second spot pivots to Suarez standing on a Little League field, gazing longingly at the field as if to remember a childhood long past.

“Talk about baseball always comes up. Our lives revolved around West Tampa Little League,” Suarez said. “It taught us fairness, sportsmanship, the importance of family and friends.

The spot will run through this week on 26 different stations including CNN, ESPN, HGTV, The History Channel, MSNBC, USA and Bay News 9. The local firm Parsons Wilson produced the spot.

Suarez’s political committee, City Wise Florida, paid about $20,000 for the spot. According to consultants, it will run more than 800 times.

The advertisement plays on a common theme in Suarez’s campaign, which is focusing on growing, preserving and improving all of Tampa’s neighborhoods.

“Tampa prospered because of neighborhoods like West Tampa,” Suarez says in the ad. “Family, friends and neighbors are the reasons why every neighborhood is Tampa.”

Suarez is a current two-term City Council member. He’s running in a seven-way race to replace Mayor Bob Buckhorn. Suarez could use a boost in his campaign. The latest poll in his race puts him in sixth place ahead of only small business consultant and political newcomer Topher Morrison.

Former Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor has a solid lead in the race, polling at about 45 percent. The rest of the candidates are battling it out for the No. 2 spot in the March 5 election in order to advance to a runoff April 23.

Other candidates include, in order of their polling numbers, David Straz, Dick Greco Jr., Harry Cohen and Ed Turanchik.

Suarez has a lot to run on despite polling numbers including endorsements from two of the three unions representing city workers — the firefighters and amalgamated transit workers. The local and state Police Benevolent Associations backed Castor.

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 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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