Tampa Mayor Jane Castor has more than $230,000 on hand for her re-election bid, her campaign announced Friday.
Castor entered the race Nov. 28. Records available since then show she raised more than $62,000 to her political committee, Tampa Strong, in November. She raised another $3,250 to her campaign in the final two days of November. Finance reports do not yet reflect December fundraising.
Castor’s committee shows $170,277 on hand as of the end of November.
“I’m so grateful for the outpouring of bipartisan support I‘ve received since launching my re-election campaign. Our message of lifting up our neighborhoods is resonating with the people of Tampa,” Castor said. “We have made a great deal of progress together, but there is still more work to be done.”
Castor officially launched her re-election campaign last week at Hotel Haya in Ybor City with a strong coalition of support from local elected officials, community leaders, residents, friends and family.
The campaign said more than 200 attended the kickoff. Castor’s host committee included more than 160 people.
Of the contributions posted to Castor’s campaign account so far, three were top $1,000 donations, from lawyer Ben Dachepalli, former C1 Bank founder Trevor Burgess and lawyer Dennis Lopez.
November fundraising to her committee included a $10,000 check from Friends of Tampa General Hospital, as well as several $5,000 checks, including from Las Vegas investor Benson Riseman. Riseman also gave $12,500 in in-kind contributions for an event, likely Castor’s kick-off.
Other $5,000 buy-ins came from Harry Hedaya, a Tampa investor; EH McNichols; real estate firm Smith & Associates; University of South Florida executive Carole Post, who previously served as Castor’s administrator of Development and Economic Opportunity; Steve Lux; City Holdings LLC; McCormick Drive LLC; and Chappell Roberts President Christine Turner.
Speaking at her kickoff event, Castor boasted an aggressive first-term agenda, including the city’s P.I.P.E.S. program, the most funding ever put into a Tampa infrastructure project, which Castor noted typically was a politically unpopular move because “you’ve never seen a ribbon cutting for new sewage pipes.”
She also touted work on the city’s transportation network, with a new commitment to correct problems such as potholes within 48 hours, and a new grant to expand the city’s Riverwalk to the west side of the Hillsborough River. And she highlighted the city’s streetcar, noting it has gone from “tourist attraction to a viable form of transit,” while becoming second in the nation for ridership behind only Kansas City.
Castor also boasts work on improving parks, including the planned creation of the East Tampa Recreation Complex to provide expanded recreation opportunities in the community, and on affordable housing that has led to more than $100 million in investment since 2019. That includes Tampa Hope, a program that provides wrap-around services for up to 300 residents suffering from homelessness. Since its launch, the program has put 20% of participating individuals into permanent housing and helped them find gainful employment.
Sustainability and resilience efforts and public safety are also on her agenda.
Before being elected in 2019, Castor served three decades with the Tampa Police Department, including as Police Chief.
Castor already is facing two Republican challengers, Jeff Godsell and Belinda Noah. Godsell has posted just $100 raised, while Noah has yet to post any fundraising activity.
Castor was first elected in 2019, defeating the late philanthropist David Straz in Tampa’s costliest mayoral contest. Straz spent nearly $5 million, most of it his own money, while Castor ran a $1.2 million campaign.
Tampa’s municipal elections will be held on March 7.