TAMPA — Two former colleagues on the dais, Guido Maniscalco and Mike Suarez, are among four candidates seeking the District 2 citywide seat on Tuesday.
Two first-time candidates, Robin Lockett and Michael Derewenko, are also in the race.
All Tampa voters will get a chance to weigh in. Across the city, there are 240,270 registered voters, of which 103,122 are Democrats — a 40,000-voter lead over Republicans. Nonparty-affiliated voters make up a nearly 70,000-voter slice of the electorate. Voters age 66 and over are the largest voting segment at 18%. White voters make up 53% of the electorate, with Black voters at 20% and Latino voters at 16%.
Michael Derewenko, 43, is a marketing manager for JAIN Irrigation. He lives in Ybor City.
Robin Lockett, 58, is an organizer with Florida Rising, a progressive social advocacy group. She lives in New Tampa.
Guido Maniscalco, 38, is currently the District 6 council member, representing much of West Tampa and parts of Seminole Heights and South Tampa. He was elected in 2015. He lives in West Tampa.
Mike Suarez, 58, was a citywide council member from 2011 to 2019. He is a commercial insurance agent. He lives in Riverside Heights.
Derewenko spoke at a recent South Tampa candidate forum about his expertise in water issues stemming from his experience working for one of the largest international irrigation manufacturers. That could prove helpful in addressing sustainability and the mayor’s plans for a project to convert highly treated wastewater into water to replenish Sulphur Springs and the Hillsborough River, a source of drinking water.
Lockett told the Tampa Bay Times editorial board that her focus is on affordable housing and engaging the community more in the housing crisis and possible solutions. She also calls for more accountability for the city’s elected leaders.
Maniscalco touts his record on securing park and stormwater investments during his two terms representing District 6. He also calls for preserving the traditional feel of Tampa neighborhoods.
Suarez told the South Tampa forum crowd that he was proud of his previous terms on council, including work to reduce flooding and address transportation issues. Suarez told the editorial board that transportation and workforce affordable housing were his top priorities if elected.
According to the latest campaign finance reports, here’s how the candidates are faring in the money game.
Derewenko Contributions: $8,257 Expenditures: $4,150.
Lockett Contributions: $14,587 Expenditures: $0
Maniscalco Contributions: $54,841 Expenditures: $12,309
Suarez Contributions: $43,585 Expenditures: $26,880
Maniscalco has been a swing vote on the City Council for much of his tenure. He has forged a working relationship with Mayor Jane Castor. Will Maniscalco’s bid to jump to a citywide seat be successful? Suarez, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2019, has a citywide network of supporters. Is that enough? Lockett and Derewenko could alter the political calculus on Election Day.
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