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Topher Morrison casts his vote for himself

He thought it was kind of weird.

Tampa mayoral candidate Topher Morrison cast his ballot for himself Monday morning on the first day of early voting in the city’s municipal election.

He thought it was kind of weird.

“I hadn’t thought about what it kind of means,” Morrison said in a video he took while walking from his downtown office to the nearby County Center to vote.

But one of his campaign staffers asked him if he was excited to go vote for himself.

“All of a sudden it kind of sunk in,” he said. “This will be the first time in my life that I’ve actually gone to a polling center to vote and my name will be on it.”

The audio is a little hard to hear because the wind drowns out Morrison’s voice, but it’s amateur quality is what has defined the underdog’s fight to sneak into the mayor’s office.

To be clear, there’s probably better odds that it would snow this week in Tampa than there are that Morrison will be elected, but his grassroots ground game has been unrelenting.

From Valentine’s Day love letters to the city to frequent “mayoral minute” posts describing policy ideas, Morrison has tried to thwart his underdog status with a solid social media game.

In his video, Morrison encourages supporters to vote now.

“Why wait,” he asks adding that Election Day voting could have long lines and be more of a bother than casting a ballot early. “Sure it’s a lot of fun because there’s a lot of energy, but I assure you it’s just as fun [to vote early.]”

Early voting is underway from 10 am until 6 pm at seven polling places throughout the city. Early voting will continue through March 3. March 5, Election Day, is the last day to vote.

“This is a very important election. We tend to give a lot of attention to the mid terms and presidential elections,” Morrison said.

He continued to explain that local elections have a day-to-day impact on voters and are just as important as the higher-profile elections.

In another show of his campaign’s non-traditional workings, what some might describe as inexperience, Morrison’s video ends with a poll worker scolding a staffer carrying a Morrison yard sign into the area in which political activity is not permitted. She quickly retreats to the sidewalk as Morrison ends his video saying, “it’s time to vote.”

Early voting locations

Cyrus Greene Center

2101 E. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Fred B. Karl County Center

601 E. Kennedy Blvd.

Jan Kaminis Platt Regional Library

3910 S. Manhattan Ave.

New Tampa Regional Library

10001 Cross Creek Blvd.

North Tampa Branch Library

8916 North Blvd.

Robert L. Gilder Elections Service Center

2514 N. Falkenburg Rd.

West Tampa Branch Library

2312 W. Union St.

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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