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David Straz spent $345 per vote — and lost by nearly 25,000 of them

The 76-year-old retired banker broke all previous spending records for a local race in running for Tampa mayor.
ALLIE GOULDING | Times Philanthropist David Straz speaks to his supporters and concedes to his opponent, Jane Castor, at his mayoral election watch party on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 at Wright's Gourmet House in Tampa. Former police chief Castor won the mayoral election.
Published Apr. 24
Updated Apr. 24

Jane Castor’s resounding victory over David Straz in Tuesday’s Tampa mayor election runoff was a high-priced affair, but Castor got far more bang for her buck — $300 per vote to be exact.

Straz spent nearly eight times as much per vote as his opponent in what turned out to be a rout.

The retired banker raised $5.1 million for his campaign — nearly all of it out of his own pocket — and spent $4.9 million through April 18, the period covered by the latest campaign filings.

That translates into $344.79 spent per vote for each of the 14,290 he netted in the runoff. Castor ended up with 38,854 votes, according to complete but unofficial results from the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections office.

By contrast, Castor spent $1,720,059 out of more than $2.1 million raised. Her per-vote average? Just $44.

Overall, Castor, Straz and the five candidates eliminated on March 5 dropped more than $7.3 million on the race to become Tampa’s next mayor.

LIVE BLOG: Get the latest updates on the Tampa mayoral and City Council races.

TAMPA MAYORAL RACE: Jane Castor wins big in Tampa mayor’s race

TAMPA CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 1: Joseph Citro scores easy win over opponent Walter L. Smith II

TAMPA CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 3: John Dingfelder heads back to Tampa City Council in big win

TAMPA CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 5: Orlando Gudes wins close City Council race over Jeffrey Rhodes

Let the comparative accounting begin. All that cash dropped on a year-long political race would pay for 49 affordable homes priced at $150,000.

Another way to look at it? About $700,000 less than what Tampa Bay Rays centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier will make this season.

READ MORE: Rays payroll for 2019

Spending in the Tampa mayor’s race more than doubled the amount spent on the then-record-breaking 2017 contest in St. Petersburg between Rick Kriseman and Rick Baker.

And the stirrings of who might replace the term-limited Kriseman have already begun. The early squabble between Kriseman and probable candidate Darden Rice? Whether it’s too early to start raising money.

READ MORE: Get ready for #stpetemayor2021

Tampa mayoral candidate David Straz, left and Mayor-elect Jane Castor, right, during their April 23 televised debate. [ALLIE GOULDING | Times]

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