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Reddick, Mulhern and Miranda win Tampa City Council seats

TAMPA — Frank Reddick swept into the Tampa City Council Tuesday and Joseph Caetano was swept out.

Reddick, the 55-year-old head of the county's Sickle Cell Association, captured the District 5 seat representing east Tampa and Ybor City.

Caetano, a 77-year-old salon owner, will exit the council. Voters ousted him from the District 7 New Tampa seat he's held since 2007. He finished third behind Charles Perkins and Lisa Montelione, who will meet in a runoff election.

Three other City Council races will also go to runoffs on March 22. The extra elections are necessary because no candidate received more than half of their race's votes.

Incumbents Charlie Miranda and Mary Mulhern kept their seats.

District 5

For winner Reddick, it was try, try again

For Reddick, the win fulfills a dozen years of campaigns. After four unsuccessful runs for public office, he finally tasted victory Tuesday night.

In a race that appeared destined for a runoff — even he admitted he was ready for three more weeks — Reddick easily defeated three competitors.

"I had a strong campaign," he said. "I walked and talked the district."

For months, Reddick touted his experience with neighborhood associations and revitalization efforts in east Tampa. As a testament to his previous successes, he often referred to his 2007 involvement in the city's purchase of Gene's Bar, a crime magnet in east Tampa.

Reddick first ran for the council in 1998. In 2006, he was appointed for four months to the seat he won Tuesday. In the following election, he failed to force a runoff against current council Chairman Thomas Scott.

On Tuesday, Reddick had plenty of votes to spare — more than Lynette Judge, Herold Lord Jr. and Carroll West combined.

District 7

Incumbent didn't even win 20 percent

Caetano's term was marred by foreclosures, bankruptcies and lawsuits, and it ended with disappointment. He failed to receive even 20 percent of the vote Tuesday.

"I know we worked hard with what we did and what we accomplished," Caetano said. "Maybe we didn't work hard enough."

His seat is now destined for either Montelione, president of the Terrace Park Civic and Crime Watch Association, or Perkins, the longtime North Tampa community advocate. Montelione received 36 percent of the vote; Perkins, 32 percent.

Montelione, 49, has touted herself as the most well-rounded candidate with experience as both a county planner and in the construction industry.

Perkins, 35, has criticized city leaders for failing to address the aging infrastructure and crime issues of the older neighborhoods. He has pledged to donate his entire $40,250 council salary to crime watch programs if elected.

Perkins was the producer of The Happy Show, a Hillsborough public access television program in which he starred as a pimp and religious figure known as White Chocolate. The show attracted officials' attention in 2004 for its sexually explicit content.

District 1

Suarez, Stokes head to citywide runoff

In a close District 1 citywide race, insurance agent Mike Suarez and banker Curtis Stokes edged out three other candidates.

Suarez, 46, led the race with 30 percent of the vote. Focused on helping citizens, Suarez said he plans to carry that theme into the runoff.

"We are going to do what we've been doing," he said. "Talking to the voters and being as responsive to them as possible."

Stokes, 42, received 26 percent of the votes. Appointed to a different council seat in July, Stokes has emphasized his experience working with budgets and the community. Now, he said, he plans to further his platform by highlighting the differences between him and his opponent.

"We will show voters the clear difference between Mike Suarez and I," Stokes said. "He will try to raise the taxes in Tampa and we'll expose that."

District 3

Former commissioner leads five candidates

In another tight race, former Hillsborough County Commissioner Chris Hart and retired jewelry store owner Yvonne Yolie Capin moved on to a runoff for the citywide District 3 seat.

Hart, 66, led the five-candidate field with 28 percent of the vote. His campaign began less than seven weeks ago.

Capin, 61, who was appointed to the District 4 South Tampa seat in July, received 24 percent of the vote. In her months on the council, she has focused on code enforcement. But her campaign has centered on small businesses, and she said that will continue.

The win "feels okay, but there's three more weeks of campaigning," she said Tuesday night. The pair beat out candidates Seth Nelson, Dr. Jason Wilson, and Michael Ciftci.

District 4

Lawyer leads race for South Tampa seat

With no incumbent in District 4, the race to represent South Tampa was wide open.

But it was lawyer Harry Cohen who ran away with the race, taking 44 percent of vote, followed by sales and marketing executive Julie Jenkins with nearly 29 percent. Cohen is well versed in the intricacies of running a government office, while Jenkins knows Florida tourism better than most.

Cohen, 40, the former Hillsborough County clerk of the circuit court's chief deputy, ran on a measured message, saying the city's budget needed to be evaluated line by line before any decisions were made.

He touted his experience making tough cuts, having helped slice a budget for court services by almost 15 percent.

Jenkins, 49, came at the council race from a different perspective than her peers. While they pledged to recruit more "green" and medical jobs to Tampa, she said the city needs to get back to its strength: tourism.

The former account executive with Virgin Atlantic Airways wants Tampa to promote itself better as a convention capital and believes the city should be first in line to forge new business relationships with Cuba as travel restrictions are eased.

Tony DeSisto, a lawyer, finished third, followed by lawyer Dennis Meyers and hair stylist Joseph Citro.

Times staff writer Justin George contributed to this report. Jack Nicas can be reached at (813) 226-3401 or [email protected]

Reddick, Mulhern and Miranda win Tampa City Council seats 03/01/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 2, 2011 11:14am]
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