Wednesday, October 17, 2018
  • Bay Buzz
  • From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Jane Castor takes early fundraising lead in Tampa mayor’s race

Election Day is still more than eight months away, but former police chief Jane Castor, who dominated the field in a recent local poll, is also breaking ahead in the money race.

And Castor has much more money remaining in the bank than her opponents for the March 5 election.

Castor's advantage may be illusory, though. David Straz Jr., a wealthy retired banker and philanthropist has vowed to spend as much of his own fortune as necessary to compete.

The most recent campaign documents filed last Monday also show Castor leading May's donation totals among candidates who had previously filed monthly reports. Her campaign raked in $84,008 bringing her total to $117,549.

Castor's associated political committee, Tampa Strong, brought in another $18,150 in May. So far, the committee has raised $209,572 since being formed nearly a year ago.

With more than $327,000 raised, Castor has spent just over $24,000, leaving her with nearly $303,000 on hand.

To put that cash haul in perspective. In 2011, the last time Tampa had a contested mayor's race, the winner, Bob Buckhorn, raised about $567,000 for the whole campaign, tops for that cycle.

That standard could be shattered by July in this rocket-fueled race to succeed the term-limited Buckhorn.

Straz raised $256,020 in May, with $250,000 coming from his own pockets. Straz has said he doesn't plan to accept donations greater than $500 and is expected to largely self-finance his campaign.

Straz doesn't plan to open an associated political committee, said his campaign manager, Mark Hanisee.

Straz spent $6,604 in May, the first month he was required to file, leaving him with just under $250,000 on hand.

City Council member Harry Cohen raised $9,155 in May. His associated political committee, Tampa Together, collected  $11,500.

So far, Cohen has received $211,460 in donations to his campaign and committee. He's spent $32,757, leaving him with $178,703 in his war chest

Former county commissioner Ed Turanchik raised $18,889 in May. His associated political committee, Tampa 2020, didn't raise any money last month.

Turanchik has netted $207,274 through his campaign and committee. He's spent $57,531, leaving him with a little less than $150,000 on hand.

Turanchik, who started raising money in February, has raised the most of all the candidates in direct contributions to his campaign at $120,999.

Hobbled by viral meningitis for most of May, the month he announced his candidacy, Tampa City Council member Mike Suarez raised $12,600 for his campaign.

As associated committee, Citizen Wise Florida brought in another $67,200. Suarez has spent $26,347, leaving $53,453 on hand.

Small businessman Topher Morrison raised $10,124 last month, bringing his total to $46,598. Morrison, a branding and public speaking consultant, has spent $23,732, leaving him with just under $23,000 on hand.

Morrison doesn't have an associated political committee. He says he wants to raise $200,000 for his campaign before forming one to avoid becoming "tied to special interests and lobbyists."

Editor's Note: The original version of this story incorrectly stated the amount of money raised by Jane Castor. It was more than $327,000, including $117,549 in direct contributions to her campaign. 

Comments
Environmental groups settle sewage lawsuit against St. Petersburg

Environmental groups settle sewage lawsuit against St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — Three environmental groups on Monday agreed to settle a federal lawsuit with the city to hold St. Petersburg accountable for spilling hundreds of millions of gallons of sewage in 2015 and 2016.If a judge approves the settlement...
Published: 10/16/18
Rhea Law isn’t jumping into Tampa’s mayoral race—-yet

Rhea Law isn’t jumping into Tampa’s mayoral race—-yet

Tampa's political circles have been abuzz over the last week about whether or not the city's crowded mayoral field may be about to add another heavyweight.Last week, Rhea Law, 68,  Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney chairwoman of the firm's Florida off...
Published: 10/15/18
Tampa’s plan to convert wastewater to drinking water stalls after Tampa Bay Water vote

Tampa’s plan to convert wastewater to drinking water stalls after Tampa Bay Water vote

CLEARWATER  — Tampa's plan to turn highly treated wastewater into drinking water for the region's booming population was rejected Monday by a coalition of Pinellas and Pasco politicians who want more time to determine how the plan might af...
Published: 10/15/18
Free rides for now, hopes of a bigger future for Tampa’s streetcar line

Free rides for now, hopes of a bigger future for Tampa’s streetcar line

The vision for the future is grand, but the free rides start now.The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority hosted a ribbon cutting Friday at Dick Greco Plaza downtown to mark what it calls a "New Era of Transit" for the TECO Line Streetcar Sys...
Published: 10/12/18
‘Kim’ is now ‘Kimberly’ Overman to separate her from a commission opponent

‘Kim’ is now ‘Kimberly’ Overman to separate her from a commission opponent

Democrat Kimberly Overman, formerly "Kim," is changing her name on all her campaign literature in pursuit of a seat on the Hillsborough County commission in hopes of avoiding confusion with Kim O'Connor, a Green Party candidate who filed just before ...
Published: 10/12/18
Realtors back Democrat Mariella Smith against Commissioner Victor Crist

Realtors back Democrat Mariella Smith against Commissioner Victor Crist

In a move that surprised local insiders, the 11,000-member Greater Tampa Realtors has endorsed Democrat Mariella Smith for a countywide Hillsborough County Commission seat against Republican Commissioner Victor Crist.That's unusual because trade grou...
Published: 10/12/18
More St. Pete residents could qualify for once-a-week trash pickup

More St. Pete residents could qualify for once-a-week trash pickup

ST. PETERSBURG — Thousands of homes could save $55 a year on trash fees by downgrading to once-a-week pickup if City Council approves a new ordinance.City Council members will vote at a future meeting on whether to allow more hom...
Published: 10/12/18
St. Petersburg reauthorizes the Rowdies’ lease to use Al Lang

St. Petersburg reauthorizes the Rowdies’ lease to use Al Lang

ST. PETERSBURG — City Council quickly approved the reauthorization of the Rowdies lease to Al Lang Stadium lease on Thursday, a necessary step to complete the Rays' purchase of the soccer team.News of the sale broke Oct. 1. Thursday's...
Published: 10/12/18
Tampa’s getting some momentum on its flooding problems

Tampa’s getting some momentum on its flooding problems

Tampa isn't on dry ground yet (see Bayshore Boulevard or the Davis Islands ramp among many other trouble spots), but Mayor Bob Buckhorn is declaring a tidal shift in the city's long struggle with flooding.Two years after a contentious City Council vo...
Published: 10/11/18
No Boss Mayor gets boost from trade group; pro-strong mayor PAC leads in cash

No Boss Mayor gets boost from trade group; pro-strong mayor PAC leads in cash

The group fighting the strong mayor initiative in Clearwater has received its single largest boost from the leading organization that advocates professional management for governments.The International City/County Management Association based in...
Published: 10/08/18
Updated: 10/09/18