What you need to know
- The race featured seven candidates: Former police chief Jane Castor, retired banker and philanthropist David Straz, retired judge Dick Greco Jr., city council members Harry Cohen and Mike Suarez, former county commissioner Ed Turanchik and small business consultant Topher Morrison.
- No candidate got a majority of the vote, so the top two vote getters will head to an April 23 runoff.
- With 102 out of 103 precincts reporting, the Tampa Bay Times projected that Castor, 59, has clinched one of the two spots in the April 23 runoff for Tampa mayor. David Straz, 76, has clinched the other.
8:45 p.m.: Thanks so much for following along with our Tampa mayor election live blog! Until April 23.
8:39 p.m.: Straz also sent a call to action to voters in the speech, according to the text sent by the campaign:
“Just 49 days to usher in a new era of Honesty. Integrity. Transparency. And Imagination,” Straz said.
8:34 p.m.: According to the text of an Election Night speech sent by the campaign, David Straz did not wait to start campaigning against Jane Castor in earnest.
“Should there be racial profiling in Tampa? No...” Straz’ speech read. “That’s the difference between David Straz and Jane Castor. That’s the crossroads Tampa faces.”
8:29 p.m.: A striking statistic from Charlie Frago:
8:25 p.m.: We’re still awaiting a statement from the Straz campaign. He’s currently holding a campaign watch event at Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park.
8:18 p.m. RACE CALL: With 102 out of 103 precincts reporting, The Tampa Bay Times is projecting that former Police Chief Jane Castor will face retired banker and philanthropist David Straz in the April 23 runoff for Tampa mayor.
8:15 p.m.: More Castor: “This city is going to change more in the next ten years than it has in my entire life.”
8:09 p.m.: Castor thanks her fellow candidates:
“All of us together, all of these nights, there was a lot of laughter. There was a lot of respect,” Castor said, recalling the numerous mayoral forums.
8:06 p.m.: Castor has now begun speaking at her watch party. You can watch her speech on Facebook here.
8:03 p.m.: Results reporting has slowed to a crawl. But some back of the napkin math says that about 47.500 mayoral votes have been counted, compared with just about 48,600 that have been counted. More than 1400 votes separate Harry Cohen and David Straz. Cohen would need every vote still out there plus about 300 additional votes to catch David Straz for the second spot in the runoff.
7:51 p.m.: We’re in a bit of a holding pattern results-wise. Ninety-three of 103 precincts have now reported, and Castor and Straz still look to be headed to the runoff.
Castor is about to speak at her watch party.
7:38 p.m. RACE CALL: With 92 out of 103 precincts reporting, The Tampa Bay Times is projecting that former Police Chief Jane Castor has clinched one of the two spots in the April 23 runoff for Tampa mayor.
The Times is making the projection based on conservative estimates of how many votes are still uncounted in the 10 remaining precincts. Under reasonable turnout assumptions, even if Castor netted zero percent of the outstanding vote, she would finish in the top two spots. Straz has a commanding lead for Cohen to overcome.
7:37 p.m.: In non-Tampa mayor news:
7:29 p.m.: 88 out of 103 are now in, and it’s looking even more like Castor versus Straz for Tampa mayor. Castor has 48 percent of the vote, and Straz has kept his 1300-odd vote lead over Harry Cohen for second place.
7:22 p.m.: With 71 out of 103 precincts reporting, Castor has now dipped below the 50 percent threshold she would need to avoid a runoff.
It looks like it’s going to be Castor versus David Straz on April 23. Straz holds about a 1300 vote lead over the next highest vote getter, Harry Cohen, with only a few thousand votes left to count.
7:15 p.m.: Results are pouring in now. With 29 out of 103 precincts reporting, Castor is still holding onto over 50 percent of the vote. Straz has about 15 percent and Harry Cohen has about 11 percent. If Castor can keep a majority and avoid a runoff, it would be a stunner.
7:12 p.m.: Ed Turanchik got about 8.2 percent of the early vote, Dick Greco Jr. Got about 7.8 percent and Mike Suarez tallied about 5 percent. Any of the three of them would have lots of Election Day work to do to make up their current margin with David Straz for second place and a potential spot in a runoff.
7:06 p.m.: Early voting results are in, and they’re amazing for Jane Castor. With more than half of the results in, Castor had over 51 percent of the vote. David Straz is in second place with about 15.6 percent of the vote and Harry Cohen is the only other candidate in double digits at just over 10 percent.
7:00 p.m.: That’s it! Polls are closed and results should start rolling in any time now.
6:55 p.m.: Just in case you haven’t gotten enough Tampa mayoral forums, the Tampa Tiger Bay Club has already set one up for March 15 in the event of a runoff.
6:47 p.m.: A quick look at the early (unofficial!) precinct turnout numbers point to a solid voting contingent out of South Tampa — and mediocre to poor numbers pretty much everywhere else.
6:41 p.m.: A local polling firm offers some great perspective about the low turnout in the Tampa mayor’s race:
6:30 p.m.: Voting rates would have to be sky high for Tampa to match its 2011 turnout rate, Charlie Frago writes:
6:22 p.m.: Turnout update! The overall turnout rate is creeping toward 20 percent after a surge of late-in-the-day voting. But it’s still likely that more people will end up voting before Election Day than on the day itself. As of 6:20 p.m., just under 47,000 people had voted in the mayor’s race.
6:08 p.m.: Just for fun, where are the highest and lowest turnout precincts in the Tampa mayor’s race so far?
Hint: The answers will not surprise you.
The lowest turnout precinct is at the University of South Florida Marshall Center, where just 14 out of a possible 2,047 voters have turned in ballots. If you’re scoring at home, that’s 0.7 percent of voters at that college precinct. Yikes.
The highest turnout precinct has come from South Tampa’s Covenant Life Church. Four in ten voters had turned up to vote at that precinct as of about 6 p.m.
5:52 p.m.: Perhaps as expected, Republicans continue to punch above their weight in the Tampa mayoral election. GOP voters make up just 25 percent of the Tampa electorate, but through 5:45 p.m., one in every three voters for mayor was a Republican.
Read more about how the Republican vote may decide the election here.
5:35 p.m.: When asked how he has spent Election Day, City Council Member Mike Suarez had jokes.
“I’ve been taking a nap, just kind of hanging out. Binge watching some stuff on Netflix. It’s pretty great,” Suarez said, tongue firmly planted in cheek.
In reality, Suarez, like many of the candidates, spent Tuesday barnstorming Tampa one final time. He’s been near every cardinal direction Tampa has to offer — East Tampa, South Tampa, West Tampa. Although voter turnout in the morning was “kind of sluggish” from what Suarez could see, he expects the final rate to be better than expected.
“I’m thinking it’s going to be at least 20 percent, which is not great, obviously, but it’s not as bad as people thought it was going to be,” Suarez said.
Good voter turnout or no, Suarez said his team has been working furiously to get the word out. The campaign has been canvassing and phone banking relentlessly the past few days, the council member said, and its efforts have reached some 5,000 voters.
5:14 p.m.: More on turnout: According to the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections office, voter participation has steadily increased throughout the day. (Ignore the part at the end of the graph where the line dips precipitously; the hours later than 5 p.m. have yet to be counted for obvious reasons.)
4:38 p.m.: Turnout update! Overall turnout is at about 18 percent, and Election Day turnout has been a little low. Just over 12,500 people have voted today as of 4:30 p.m., so it seems unlikely that the city will see 25,000-plus Election Day voters like it did during the last open race in 2011.
Perhaps evidence of the bad weather effect?
4:10 p.m.: Have y’all heard the David Straz campaign jingles yet? (That’s not a typo, he’s got more than one.)
If not, you really should check 'em out.
Here’s the power ballad “Just Imagine.”
And here’s “Get Up, Get Out, Go Vote!” which has more of a country feel:
Polls show Straz is in a three-way race for the second spot in a potential April runoff.
3:52 p.m.: Will Tampa polling prove to be accurate? At least one candidate has his doubts.
From Charlie Frago, who spoke with Ed Turanchik around noon:
Turanchik said Tuesday that his campaign continued to seek out undecided voters, including knocking on doors. Turanchik said he believes the polls are wrong and his campaign will capture much of the voters who are still making up their minds.
3:33 p.m.: Jane Castor, who polls show is leading the race, invoked the words of Andrew Gillum at the end of this get out the vote tweet:
“Bring it home!!" was a refrain for Gillum, the rising Democratic star who lost in a close governor’s race to Gov. Ron DeSantis.
3:04 p.m.: Turnout update! As of 3:00 p.m., just over 10,000 Tampa voters had voted on Election Day. That’s almost exactly a quarter of the total electorate. Overall turnout rate is still looking fairly meager, having yet to crack 17 percent. But a surge of after-work voting should give that number a bump.
2:40 p.m.: Our reporters are at the polls asking voters who they’re voting for. Here’s what some Tampa residents have said:
2:17 p.m.: Who is Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn supporting to be his successor? The mayor has been mum. But he did vote this morning. Times reporter Tony Marrero had the story:
2:01 p.m.: It’s the big day, Tampa! Today, Florida’s third-largest city could pick its next mayor — or at least go a long way toward doing so. I’m Kirby Wilson, a reporter for the Tampa Bay Times, and I’ll be giving you live updates on the mayor’s race throughout the day.
First, a quick primer. Seven candidates are in the race: Former Tampa police chief Jane Castor, retired banker and philanthropist David Straz, retired judge Dick Greco Jr., former city council members Harry Cohen and Mike Suarez, former county commissioner Ed Turanchik and small business consultant Topher Morrison. If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the city-wide vote Tuesday, the top two vote-getting candidates will head to an April 23 runoff.
Read more about the race at our landing page for all things Tampa elections here.
We’re still some five hours from polls closing, but the weather has already played a prominent role on Election Day. From Tampa City Hall reporter Charlie Frago:
Some 38,200 voters have voted as of 1:45 p.m. — 30,000 during early voting and about 8,200 on Election Day. How much will that Election Day number grow by the time polls close at 7 p.m.? History says a good bit: we’re currently at 16 percent turnout citywide. In 2011, the last time Tampa held a mayoral election without an incumbent, voter turnout was 22 percent.