TAMPA — They’re not related.
U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, a Tampa Democrat, and Jane Castor, who is running to replace Mayor Bob Buckhorn, share a last name, a high school alma mater and North Tampa upbringing, but they were both careful to point out Friday they don’t share blood ties.
Kathy Castor endorsed Jane Castor for mayor, saying the former police chief know the city inside and out from 31 years in the Tampa Police Department and has the right tools to lead the city.
“She’s always been an honest leader and I trust her vision for the future,” Kathy Castor said.
FROM THE TAMPA BAY TIMES: A Complete Guide to the 2019 Tampa Mayor’s Race
Jane Castor said there were people who incorrectly credited her rise within the police department to family ties with Betty Castor, the former state senator, county commissioner and president of the University of South Florida and Kathy Castor’s mother.
Kathy Castor, who is seven years younger than Jane, joked that the basketball coaches were disappointed to see her in person after Jane’s hoops stardom at Chamberlain and the University of Tampa.
Some mayoral candidates eliminated on March 5 have grumbled that Castor’s near close out victory might have been helped by a perception that Jane Castor was part of the political Castor clan, but two Castors Friday said there is a flip side.
“We also joke that each of us better stay out of trouble so that there’s no bad connotation,” Kathy Castor said, who was elected to Congress in 2006.
Meanwhile on Friday, David Straz reacted to Castor’s new TV ad, which criticizes his campaign for lying.
In a taped video message, Straz said Castor had “never formally apologized” for the disproportionate ticketing of black bicyclists which has come to be known as “biking while black.”
Castor has repeatedly said the policy was a mistake, but some black leaders have said she never apologized to them in the community.
Straz also repeated charges that Castor would be double-dipping if she keeps her police pension and takes the $160,742 mayor’s salary, a position that has earned the enmity of the city’s police and fire unions.
And he again claimed that Castor has manipulated crime statistics, a charge for which he relies on the testimony of one former Tampa Police Department officer who is running for Hillsborough County Sheriff.
“I’m sorry if the facts reflect negatively on you, Jane, but voters deserve to know the truth,” Straz says in the video.
The two candidates will meet this afternoon in one of the few face-to-face debates of the runoff, which will be decided April 23. Their half-hour debate will air tonight at 8:30 p.m. on the public television station WEDU.