Outgoing Mayor Bob Buckhorn did not mince words Tuesday when he was asked his opinion on how David Straz ran his campaign.
“It was like watching a dumpster fire. I haven’t seen a campaign like that in quite some time,” Buckhorn said as he cast his ballot this morning for Straz’s opponent Jane Castor.
“The people around him who advised him ought to be charged with elder abuse,” Buckhorn said. “It was mean spirited. It lacked a vision. It was unfortunate and this community deserves better. And i think they’re going to get better with the next mayor.”
Buckhorn added, “He had an opportunity to provide a contrasting vision and he chose not to and i think that’s unfortunate.”
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Straz, 76, a wealthy retired banker, has spent about $5.1 million on the race, almost all of it his own money. Castor, 59, former Tampa police chief, has raised more than $2 million. The total amount being spent is a record for a local election.
A poll released last week by the University of North Florida showed Castor over Straz by a 64 to 28 percentage point margin in a survey of 653 likely voters done between April 10 and 12. The poll has a margin of error of 3.7 percent.
In his comments this morning, Buckhorn had a brighter view of Tampa’s future under Jane Castor as mayor. Asked his feelings, he said, “I’m excited. I’m always excited on Election Day. I’m sad this is my last time on the ballot, in all likelihood.
“You know, I’m ready to pass the torch. The city’s in a good place. The job of the next mayor is just to continue this momentum. Not only are you not going to be able to recognize the city, but I think we’ll be the economic engine that drives the southeastern United States. And to know that I had some small part of that is pretty exciting and pretty rewarding.”
Buckhorn, who has served eight years as mayor, arrived just after 7 a.m. to vote at Marjorie Park Marina on Davis Islands. He was accompanied by his wife Cathy and daughters Colleen and Grace.
Grace Buckhorn just turned 18, her father said, and was voting for the first time.
“She cast her vote for Jane Castor.” the mayor said, “and we’re pretty excited about what the next four years is going to be."