Former police chief Jane Castor is the heavy favorite to win Tampa’s mayoral election tomorrow. Polls say that’s true, and conventional wisdom would as well after she nearly avoided a run-off in the March 5 election.
But what do Florida’s top political minds think? Does the philanthropic businessman David Straz have a chance?
More than 96 percent of Florida Insiders said no, he does not.
Just six (two Democrat, four Republican) campaign operatives, fundraisers, political scientists and other veteran politicos regularly polled by the Tampa Bay Times think Straz will come out of Tuesday’s election victorious. And the other 162 respondents picked Castor.
“Hopefully this will prove for future elections that you can’t buy the voters of Tampa — especially when 80 percent of the voters sit home and the remaining few are barely paying attention,” one Democrat said. “We actually had too many good candidates and we ended up with the two most boring, uninspiring candidates in the bunch.”
Insiders were also asked about a bill in Tallahassee that would require felons to pay off all fees, fines and restitution before being allowed to vote. Would such a bill subvert the will of the people, who voted last year to restore the right of many felons to vote?
It was split, with 52 percent saying yes, and 48 percent saying no. Among Insiders registered as Republicans, “no” outnumbered “yes,” three to one, and vice versa for Democrats.
Finally, most Insiders said don’t believe the recent talk about a sweeping criminal justice reform bill this session. Seven in 10 said it’s not happening.
The Times regularly surveys some of Florida’s campaign staff, party leaders, consultants, operatives, fundraisers, prognosticators and other well-known politicos. We allow participants to weigh-in anonymously to encourage honesty from people closely involved in the political process, but we always print the name of all the participants. This month’s Florida Insiders are:
This month’s Insiders were: Erin Aebel, Tom Alte, Jason Altmire, Gayle Andrews, Scott Arceneaux, Donna Arduin, Dave Aronberg, Brad Ashwell, Jon M. Ausman, Roger Austin, Ryan Banfill, Christina Barker, Scott Barnhart, Rodney Barreto, Ashley Bauman, Alan Becker, Geoffrey Becker, Samuel Bell, Wayne Bertsch, Ron Bilbao, Barney Bishop III, Greg Blair, Katie Bohnett, Matt Bryan, Bob Buckhorn, Alex Burgos, Kristy Campbell, Dean Cannon, Tim Canova, Al Cardenas, Reggie Cardozo, Chip Case, Kevin Cate, Mitch Ceasar, Jim Cherry, Alan Clendenin, Brad Coker, Mike Colodny, Hunter Conrad, Gus Corbella, Brian Crowley, Ana Cruz, Husein Cumber, Colburn David, Richard DeNapoli, Pablo Diaz, Victor DiMaio, Tony DiMatteo, Michael Dobson, Doc Dockery, Paula Dockery, Bob Doyle, Charles Dudley, Ryan Duffy, Barry Edwards, Eric Eikenberg, Alia Faraj-Johnson, Mike Fasano, Peter Feaman, Mark Ferrulo, Damien Filer, Mark Foley, Brian Franklin, Towson Fraser, Keith Frederick, Ellen Freidin, John French, Stephen Gaskill, Steve Geller, Richard Gentry, Susan Glickman, Susan Goldstein, Alma Gonzalez, Ron Greenstein, Joe Gruters, Marion Hammer, Abel Harding, James Harris, Rich Heffley, Cynthia Henderson, Ann Herberger, Mike Hightowers, Don Hinkle, Jim Horne, Aubrey Jewett, Jeff Johnson, Christina Johnson, Ken Jones, Eric Jotkoff, Fred Karlinsky, Joshua Karp, Henry Kelley, Jim Kitchens, John Konkus, Kartik Krishnaiyer, Stephanie Kunkel, Jackie Lee, Bill Lee, Matt Lettelleir, Jack Levine, Alan Levine, Tom Lewis, Stephanie Lewis-McClung, Bethany Leytham, Al Maloof, Javier Manjarres, Roly Marante, William March, Beth Matuga, Brian May, Kim McDougal, Clarence McKee, Seth McKee, Kathy Mears, David Mica, Paul Mitchell, Travis Moore, Lucy Morgan, Samuel Neimeiser, Meredith O’Rourke, Stephanie Owens, Maurizio Passariello, Alex Patton, Darryl Paulson, Anthony Pedicini, Jorge Pedraza, Juan Penalosa, Evey Perez-Verdia, Joe Perry, Ron Pierce, JC Planas, Bob Poe, Van Poole, David Rancourt, Marc Reichelderfer, George Riley, Jim Rimes, Terrie Rizzo, Pat Roberts, Jason Roth, Sarah Rumpf, Ron Sachs, Tom Scarritt, Steve Schale, Tom Scherberger, April Schiff, Mel Sembler, Kathleen Shanahan, Bud Shorstein, Kyle Simon, Patrick Slevin, Adam Smith, Eleanor Sobel, Alan Stonecipher, Nancy Ann Texeira, Cory Tilley, Frank Tsamoutales, Greg Turbeville, Christian Ulvert, Jason Unger, Greg Ungru, Matthew Van Name, Steven Vancore, Ashley Walker, Robert Watkins, Nancy Watkins, Screven Watson, Jonathan Webber, John Wehrung, Andrew Weinstein, Gerald Wester, Leslie Wimes, Jon Woodard, Zachariah Zachariah, Christian Ziegler, Mark Zubaly