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Castor not invited to DeSantis announcement, but not sulking

The governor was in Tampa on Monday to announce major funding for the West Shore interchange.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis leaves after speaking during a news conference Monday in Tampa.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis leaves after speaking during a news conference Monday in Tampa. [ CHRIS URSO | Times ]
Published Sep. 16

When Gov. Ron DeSantis made a major announcement of sped-up highway improvement plans in Tampa on Monday, he was flanked by House Speaker Chris Sprowls of Palm Harbor, Senate President Wilton Simpson of Trilby, Florida Transportation Secretary Kevin Thibault and a crew of construction workers.

Who was missing? Tampa Mayor Jane Castor.

“We didn’t know about it,” Castor spokesman Adam Smith said of the news conference.

Any disappointment didn’t show.

“Great news for the @CityofTampa announced by @GovRonDeSantis today!” she tweeted after news stories about the announcement were posted.

Related: West Shore Interchange project moved up to 2023, DeSantis announces

Castor is a Democrat in a nonpartisan office and has instituted a vaccine mandate for city employees. DeSantis, Sprowls and Simpson are Republicans, and DeSantis vehemently opposes vaccine mandates.

Former Mayor Bob Buckhorn, also a Democrat, frequently appeared with then-Republican Gov. Rick Scott when important Tampa grants or projects were announced, even though some Democrats criticized Buckhorn for it.

Why wasn’t Castor invited? DeSantis’ press office didn’t respond to emails and calls asking.