Black Caucus endorsement is more good news for Jane Castor

jane castor 4.19
The group had previously endorsed Topher Morrison.

Tampa Mayoral candidate Jane Castor landed what might be one of her most important endorsements yet: The Hillsborough County Democratic Black Caucus announced its support Wednesday.

The group had previously endorsed Topher Morrison who finished last in the March 5 municipal election.

The caucus was the only group to endorse Morrison who was widely seen as the race’s biggest underdog. Morrison has not officially endorsed a candidate in the runoff, but a nod from his only endorser could be a motivating factor for voters who previously supported Morrison.

That only represents 800 voters and less than 2 percent of the overall turnout, but the deciding factor in runoff elections is often which candidate earns the most support from voters who had previously endorsed another candidate.

That was the case for incumbent Mayor Bob Buckhorn when he was first elected in 2011. Buckhorn finished second in the municipal election behind Rose Ferlita, but delivered a sound beating in the runoff after securing endorsements from most of his previous opponents.

That’s even more important for Straz who made the runoff with just 15 percent of the vote, compared to Castor’s 48 percent. Worse still for Straz, Castor has already been endorsed by the third and fourth place finishers in that race, Harry Cohen and Dick Greco.

“We take this process very seriously,” wrote HCDBC President Robin Lockett in a letter of endorsement.

“We are looking for the best person to represent our community and for our community to be the first thought not the second while still being fair about other issues. We need someone who speaks to our issues, and we look forward to your continued journey in serving our community as they should be served.”

The endorsement is also a mark against one of Straz’s campaign strategies. He’s been focusing much of his efforts on earning support from the city’s black community.

Straz has also been attacking Castor’s track record in the African-American community by sending out negative ads criticizing her support for a policy that disproportionately targeted black bicyclists for minor biking infractions.

The endorsement indicates that critique might not be working, though Straz was endorsed by the Florida Sentinel Bulletin, the community’s only newspaper dedicated to the African-American community.

Castor said she was “proud” to have earned the group’s support and that she looks forward to working with its members “to ensure that every member of our community has a seat at the table.”

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].


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