Tampa’s new mayor raised $2.1 million in political donations, including almost $200,000 from Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, on her way to a rout of retired banker David Straz in the runoff election. Straz, who raised $5.2 million, outspent Castor nearly 3 to 1 but lost by 46 percentage points.
Castor received more than 3,500 donations totaling $1.2 million in her official campaign account, which limits donors to $1,000 per election. She was able to almost double that with just 250 donations totaling more than $922,000 made to her political action committee, Tampa Strong. There are no limits on donations to PACs.
Here’s a look at who gave the most:
1. Jeff Vinik, $196,000
Between personal donations and those from his firm American Investment Holdings, Vinik was far and away Castor’s biggest supporter. The change in the city’s leadership comes during a critical time for his Water Street Tampa redevelopment project, which has several buildings under construction. The redevelopment project centered around Amalie Arena has already been approved for $100 million of community redevelopment funds for infrastructure improvements.
Vinik is part of FBN Partners, a group of local investors who in 2017 loaned $12 million to Times Publishing Co., which owns the Tampa Bay Times.
2. Jonathan Stanton, $51,000
An executive with St. Petersburg-based Lima Construction, Stanton donated $50,000 to Castor’s PAC as well as a $1,000 individual donation. The firm constructed the Franklin Street Residences in downtown Tampa.
3. Yerrid Law Firm/ Steve Yerrid, $37,000
The Tampa law firm, which specializes in state and federal civil trials, donated $35,000 to Castor’s PAC and $1,000 to her campaign fund. Attorney Steve Yerrid also made a $1,000 personal donation.
4. The DeBartolo family, $33,000
Former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. donated $10,000 to Tampa Strong. That was matched by his daughters Lisa Marie DeBartolo and Nicole DeBartolo, who also donated a combined $3,000 to the former Tampa police chief’s campaign fund. The family has another law enforcement connection: Nicole is the wife of Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister. He also donated $2,000 to Castor (not included in family total).
5. The Barkett family, $28,100
Nine members of the Barkett family, owners of Amalie Oil and hosts of one of the best parties along the Gasparilla parade, donated to Castor. Carmen Barkett led the way with a $20,000 donation to Tampa Strong and $1,000 to Castor’s campaign fund. There were also $1,000 donations made by Harry, Marie, Richard, Anthony, Janice, Kenneth and Lorraine Barkett and $100 from Gianni Barkett.
6. Sykes family, $27,000
The family whose name adorns the building fondly known as the “Beer Can,” were big supporters of Castor. John Sykes donated $20,000 to her PAC and he and wife, Susan Sykes, also donated $3,000 to her campaign. Meanwhile his son, Chuck Sykes and wife, Becky Sykes, also gave $4,000.
7. Domain Homes, $25,000
This Tampa-based residential home builder run by Sharon McSwain donated $25,000 to Tampa Strong.
8. Bear Defense Services, $20,000
Global logistics firm based on West Cypress Street donated $20,000 to Castor’s PAC.
9. The Vault, $18,303 ($17,303 in-kind)
Owner Carolyn Wilson backed Castor’s campaign through a donation of the use of her 6,000 square-foot upscale event space, The Vault in downtown Tampa. Wilson also made a personal donation of $1,000.
10. (tie) HNTB Holdings Ltd. PAC, $15,000
Road and infrastructure firm HNTB, which is headquartered in Kansas and has deep political ties in Florida, donated to Castor through its political action committee. The company was hired by the state transportation department to help with the bidding process for tolls and customer-service calls for four turnpike authorities. That process is now the subject of an investigation by the state’s chief inspector general. HNTB is also one of a handful of current or former clients of the lobbying firm Ballard Partners that donated to Castor. Her partner, Ana Cruz, works for Ballard.
10, (tie) North American Health Services, $15,000
10. (tie) John Rakolta III, $15,000
Hospital and health care company North American Health Services and Detroit developer John Rakolta III each donated $15,000 to Castor’s PAC.
Sources: Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections, Florida Division of Elections