Tampa City Council members all take reelection plunge

Mayor Jane Castor also drew another challenge.
Council members Charlie Miranda, left, and Bill Carlson both have filed for reelection to their Tampa City Council seats. All seven council members have taken the plunge of seeking another term.
Council members Charlie Miranda, left, and Bill Carlson both have filed for reelection to their Tampa City Council seats. All seven council members have taken the plunge of seeking another term. [ Times (2020) ]
Published Jan. 9|Updated Jan. 9

TAMPA — They’re all in.

All seven current City Council members have now filed to seek reelection March 7, with Bill Carlson and Charlie Miranda formalizing their candidacies in recent days.

Carlson, a frequent critic of Mayor Jane Castor, had been widely rumored to be weighing a run against her. On Monday, he said he had never planned to do so.

“I never intended to run for mayor,” he said, adding he believed the rumors were spread by Castor allies.

Carlson will make another run for his District 4 South Tampa seat. So far, he is the only candidate. He says affordable housing, crime and defeating a controversial wastewater reuse project championed by the mayor are his primary issues.

The deadline to qualify for the election is Jan. 20.

Carlson said he views the upcoming election as a referendum on the mayor, not council members, several of whom have had a contentious relationship with Castor and her staff.

“If you like violent-crime increases, if you like pothole-ridden roads, if you like that your kids can’t afford to move back here, please vote for people who will support Jane Castor. Otherwise, please vote for people who will bring balance, accountability and transparency to the city,” he said.

Miranda, who has been on the council on and off since 1974, will seek another four-year term. After serving the term-limited eight years in a citywide seat, he is running in District 6, which covers West Tampa and parts of South Tampa. Miranda, 82, has lived in West Tampa for about 60 years and was dubbed “the Don of West Tampa” by former mayor Bob Buckhorn.

Guido Maniscalco, who has represented the district since 2015, must give up the seat due to term limits. He is now seeking election to Miranda’s old citywide seat, District 2.

Miranda will have plenty of competition. Hoyt Prindle III, Rick Fifer, Nicole Payne and Tyler Barrett have filed for District 6.

An ally of Castor’s, Miranda said he wants to continue to play a part in the city’s transformation. All eight of his grandchildren either live in Tampa or plan to return, he said. That’s a good indicator that things are going well, he added.

“Now, young people have the ability to stay home, earn a living and do what I did for my family. We weren’t seeing that before,” Miranda said.

He also pointed to his expertise on water issues and his effort to squash a plan to raise council members’ salaries by nearly 42% last year.

Castor, also seeking a second term, has two opponents as of Monday.

Last week, Andre Hill Sr., 70, a developer and community activist from West Tampa, filed to run against her. Hill joins Belinda Noah, an attorney, in the race.

An earlier candidate, Jeff Godsell, has withdrawn, according to the Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections website.

In his first run for public office, Hill said he decided to take on the mayor over what he sees as an inadequate response to homelessness, inequality and gun violence.

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“Issues that cannot be addressed by an administration that is being controlled by a few developers,” Hill said Monday, promising to be “a mayor for the people, by the people.”

Hill is chairperson of the Urban Progress Alliance, which unsuccessfully bid in 2019 for what has become the West River project, which is being developed by the Related Group, a Miami-based firm that has donated to Castor.

Castor’s campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.