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Winner/loser of the week in Florida politics: April 28 edition

Tampa’s new mayor is a national hotshot.

Winner of the week

Tampa Mayor-Elect Jane Castor stands with her sons Sergei Bevan, right, and Seely Bevan, left, while she waves at her supporters after giving her victory speech at The Vault. The retired Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor defeated retired banker and philanthropist David Straz. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]

Jane Castor. The former Tampa police chief made history Tuesday being elected the first out mayor in Tampa Bay and the first openly gay woman to lead a major city in the Southeast. Despite being outspent nearly 3 to 1, her election was hardly in doubt.


Philanthropist David Straz speaks to his supporters and concedes to his opponent, Jane Castor, at his mayoral election watch party on April 23 at Wright's Gourmet House in Tampa. (ALLIE GOULDING | Times)

David Straz’s political consultants. Straz spent at least $4.9 million in the Tampa mayor’s race. Bill Fletcher’s Nashville-based firm, Fletcher Ridge, was paid $2.8 million. That’s big bucks for 27 percent of the vote.

Loser of the week

Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala

Sen. Dennis Baxley. The senator who represents Ocala and the Villages is doing his part for white supremacy. In 2014, Baxley opposed erecting a Union soldier memorial at a state park that he said “competed” with three nearby Confederate monuments. In 2017, he blocked the state’s first slavery memorial by not taking it up in his committee. On Thursday, Baxley was the lone vote against a measure that removed the name of B.K. Roberts, a former Florida Supreme Court justice who opposed desegregation, from a building at the Florida State University College of Law. Roberts is best known now for defying a U.S. Supreme Court decision to allow a black man to enroll in the University of Florida College of Law. The memory of a racist man like Roberts is alive and well in the Florida Senate thanks to Baxley.