TAMPA -- David Straz has blasted Jane Castor for taking campaign money from powerful interests and for doctoring police crime statistics, but he said as he worked the polls on Election Day that “she’s a good person and I’ll have a good relationship with her.”
Straz spoke to reporters outside a South Tampa polling station at about 7:30 a.m., saying in response to a question that no matter how the election turns out, "I’m able to get along with anybody, no matter what happens.”
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Castor and Straz emerged as the top two vote-getters among seven candidates in the March 5 mayor’s race, but Castor fell just short of the 50 percent-plus-one votes necessary to avoid today’s runoff runoff election.
Straz, a wealthy retired banker, has spent about $5.1 million on the race, almost all of it his own money. Castor has raised more than $2 million. The total amount being spent is a record for a local election.
In commercials broadcast through today, Straz blasts Castor for taking money from developers and others in her campaign.
This morning, he reiterated his criticism of the former chief for what he calls her manipulation of crime statistics while she led the police department to make the city of Tampa look safer.
He was asked his reaction to comments made minutes earlier today by outgoing Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who called Straz’s a “dumpster fire” of a campaign. Buckhorn backs Castor.
Replied Straz, “They all know when I win I intend to take the cheese away from the mice and they don’t like it. So they say bad things.”
Asked how he thinks his campaign is going, Straz said, “I think it’s gone well. It’s the first time I’ve ever done anything like this and I’m quite pleased.”
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.
Straz dismissed the polls, pointing to the surprise victory in the last presidential election, won by first-time candidate Donald Trump.
Asked what advantage he may have as Tampa mayor, Straz said, “I have experience creating jobs and managing large for profit and not for profit organizations. My opponent hasn’t done anything like that.”
He added, “I think a lot of people are interested in an underdog that’s got experience.”