TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - Many predicted there would be a runoff for the top spot in Tampa government, but the second place spot seemed up for grabs going into Tuesday's election.
David Straz seems to have claimed that spot.
While all of the candidates identify with the Democratic Party, the race was officially non-partisan, so there was no primary. However, for a candidate to win Tuesday, they needed to get at least 50 percent of the vote. With all precincts reporting, Castor came away with 48 percent of the vote. Straz, a far-away second - got 15.5 percent.
A runoff election will be held April 23.
Also on Tuesday's ballot were several spots on Tampa City Council, as well as 18 ballot measures. To see results from the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections, visit https://enr.electionsfl.org/HIL/Summary/2083/.
Whoever wins will replace Bob Buckhorn as mayor, who is prevented from running again due to term limits. In all, seven candidates were vying to replace him.
Addressing her supporters, Jane Castor said, "This isn’t going to be easy. If we work together, we can lift Tampa up to being the greatest city in the nation... I want to focus on homegrown ability and I intend to continue that. This city is going to change more in the next ten years than it has in my entire life."
Most will remember Castor as the city’s Police Chief from 2009 to 2015. She joined TPD as a beat cop in the 1980s and rose through the ranks to become chief.
Castor, 58, was born and raised in Tampa. She graduated from the University of Tampa in 1981 with a degree in criminology. She has two adopted sons with her ex-wife, Bradenton Police Chief Melanie Bevan. She currently lives in Seminole Heights and owns a law enforcement consulting agency.
Castor has been endorsed by the city’s police union, two previous police chiefs -- Steve Hogue and Bennie Holder – and former Tampa fire chief Tom Forward. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik has also endorsed Castor.
A recent poll conducted Feb. 17-20 by Bold Blue Campaigns gave Castor a significant lead, with 39 percent of the vote.
At his watch party at Lowry Park Zoo, David Straz told his supporters, “Tampa has a bright future. The city needs a mayor who can manage a billion dollar budget with honesty, integrity, transparency and imagination. With my success in banking and business, I feel I am the best candidate to serve the city that I love.”
Straz had at least two big things going for him: Money and name recognition. The 75-year-old retired banker and philanthropist is - by far - the wealthiest candidate running for mayor and said he would spend what it takes to win.
In 2009, the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, located on Tampa’s downtown waterfront, changed its name to the “David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts” after a financial gift from Straz’s charitable foundation. A confidentiality agreement kept the amount of the donation from being publicly disclosed.
Straz graduated from Marquette University in 1965, and went on to make a fortune in banking. He built two banking organizations in Wisconsin in Florida, which he sold to U.S. Bank, Bank of America, and Fifth Third Bank.
Straz recently became a Democrat but has supported Republicans in the past. As mayor, he says his priorities would be job growth, bringing Fortune 500 companies to Tampa, and focusing on improving neighborhoods. He says he would also conduct a full audit of the city government to ensure transparency and integrity. He’s been endorsed by 20 different labor unions.
Straz placed second in the Bold Blue Campaigns poll conducted Feb 17-2,0 with 17 percent support.