TAMPA, Fla. — Coming off the heels of the heated 2018 midterms, Florida voters may be feeling a little “political fatigue” to start 2019. But now is no time to tune out because Tampa’s upcoming municipal election features a high profile mayoral race, among others.
Election day is scheduled for March 5, but if no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two candidates will face each other in a run-off election on April 23, with the winner taking office May 1.
The deadline for candidates to file is Friday, January 18. Here’s a quick introduction to the candidates currently running for Mayor of Tampa (listed in alphabetical order):
Jane Castor – Retired as Tampa Chief of Police in 2015 after 31 years in law enforcement. Castor told 10News her platform is focused on providing better transportation, building a stronger economy and stronger neighborhoods, and continuing to foster development.
Harry Cohen – The attorney and Tampa native has sat on Tampa’s city council for the last 8 years and serves on several boards and committees. Cohen says he wants better transportation and infrastructure; stormwater and flood management; affordable housing; inclusion of all neighborhoods and improved community relations.
Dick Greco, Jr. – Greco is a familiar name in Tampa politics. Greco’s father, Dick Greco, served on Tampa’s city council and served two terms as the city’s mayor (1967-’74 & 1995-2003). Greco Jr. retired as a judge on the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit in Hillsborough County.
Michael Anthony Hazard – Graduated from Tampa’s Jefferson High School in 1987. After filing for candidacy, Hazard became an ineligible voter due to a felony conviction. However, after Amendment 4 went into effect earlier this month, Hazard registered to vote legally and is currently a registered voter in Hillsborough County.
LaVaughn R. King – A former track & field athlete at the University of Florida, King lists his main causes as: wellness (obesity alleviation), education (personal & professional development), arts (creative development), restorative justice, and housing on his official candidate Facebook page.
Christopher “Topher” Morrison – Morrison has spent the last 20 years working as an entrepreneur, founding and managing a Tampa-based business accelerator and personal branding program. While he has no previous political experience, he has championed the idea of finding an identity for the city of Tampa proposing that it become “the rooftop city."
David A. Straz, Jr. – Most people in Tampa will recognize the Straz name from the philanthropist’s Straz Center for the Performing Arts. Originally a Wisconsin native, Straz moved to Tampa in 1980 and has built a campaign based on LGBTQ equality, equal pay for women, gun safety, protecting the environment, develop affordable housing, increase the minimum wage to $15 and job creation.
Mike Suarez – Suarez, a third-generation Tampa native and USF graduate, has sat on Tampa’s city council since 2011. An insurance professional by trade, Suarez has focused on strengthening the city’s neighborhoods.
Ed Turanchik – Turanchik has been involved in local politics for almost three decades. Originally elected to the Hillsborough County Commission in 1990, he has been an outspoken advocate of environmental protection. He lists his priorities as creating congestion-proof transit, new housing initiatives, business innovation, fiscal prudence and promoting diversity and inclusion.
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