TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa’s former police chief will become the city’s next mayor.
With all precincts reporting, Jane Castor handily defeated local philanthropist David Straz in Tuesday’s runoff election with 73 percent of the vote.
The mayoral race headed to a runoff after the March 5 election failed to produce a clear winner getting more than 50 percent of the vote. Straz finished the first election with 15.5 percent of the vote. He trailed Castor with 27 percent of the vote during Tuesday’s election.
Speaking to her supporters, Castor said she has "never been more hopeful or excited about our city's future. And it's going to take each and every one of us to lift this city up and make it what we want it to be."
Castor, 59, spent 31 years in local law enforcement, six of those as Tampa’s police chief. She was the city’s first woman to hold the top cop post and the first openly gay person to do so. She retired her badge in 2015.
Through her campaign, Castor gained endorsements from numerous local leaders, including outgoing Mayor Bob Buckhorn. Buckhorn touted Castor’s deep roots to the community, saying “she has dedicated her life to serving the people of this city.”
In his concession speech, Straz vowed to support Castor in her efforts to improve Tampa.
"Today, the voters have spoken, and I accept their decision," he told supporters.
Castor was the heavy favorite throughout her campaign even amidst Straz’s mailers and commercials accusing her of lying about her record on crime and of racial profiling in the police department.
She will be sworn into office May 1.
Castor entered the room where her supporters had gathered with the victory song, “This Girl is on Fire,” blaring from the sound speakers. And she was, politically speaking, becoming Tampa’s next mayor by a 3 to 1 margin.
“That sends a resounding message to our community. No, it seems a resounding message to the nation,” Castor said. “Tampa celebrates its diversity and lifts everyone up in a positive way. We don’t tear people down with negativity.
“So, thank you all for believing in that message.”
Castor said she has more than a single priority on Day 1. She wants to concentrate on transportation and affordable housing for everyone.
Three city council seats were also decided Tuesday. John Dingfelder was re-elected in District 3. Joseph Citro won the seat in District 1. And in District 5, Orlando Gudes eked out a 157-vote win over Jeffrey L. Rhodes.
What other people are reading right now:
- Dad accused of shooting 2-year-old in the face during fight with boy's mom
- Wisconsin man claims $768 million Powerball jackpot
- Man who stopped alleged sexual assault of boy dies
- Brawling Easter Bunny was a wanted fugitive, authorities say
- Woman arrested after allegedly tossing 7 newborn puppies into dumpster
►Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the 10News app now.