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Jane Castor has sizable lead in new poll of Tampa mayor's race, which shows a three-way battle for second

TAMPA — A new survey of the Tampa mayor's race shows former police chief Jane Castor with a sizable lead in a fight likely to be down to two candidates when polls close Tuesday evening.

In a poll of 540 likely Tampa voters conducted by St. Pete Polls over the weekend, Castor was backed by 35.9 percent of the respondents who either planned to vote or had already cast a ballot.

Second place was considerably more fluid, with retired Hillsborough County judge Dick Greco Jr., retired banker and philanthropist David Straz and City Council member Harry Cohen in the mix for a spot in an April 23 runoff.

The poll had a margin of error rate of 4.2 percent and was commissioned by Florida Politics.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Castor's prime position in this poll has been mirrored in earlier public and internal surveys.

ELECTION GUIDE: Catch up on the Tampa Bay Times coverage of the 2019 Tampa mayor's race

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The Tampa mayor's race, explained

Straz led the fight for second place with support from 14.2 percent of the respondents who either planned to vote or had already voted. Greco Jr. had 12.7 percent and Cohen had 10.5 percent. Nearly 10 percent of voters remain undecided.

Rounding out the field was former county commissioner Ed Turanchik with 7.7 percent, City Council member Mike Suarez with 6.5 percent and branding consultant Topher Morrison with 2.6 percent. Their totals didn't differ appreciably between those who voted and those who said they were likely to do so.

Straz, 76, has already spent about $3.1 million on the non-partisan race, nearly tripling the record set in 2003 by Frank Sanchez. He has devoted considerable resources to winning the city's black voters. The poll showed that effort has won him the support of 19.5 percent of black voters surveyed, well behind Castor's 35.9 percent despite a Straz-affiliated group papering mailboxes with an ad blasting Castor for her policy of disproportionately ticketing black bicyclists.

Among Latino voters polled, Castor had a smaller lead of 30.3 percent followed by Greco Jr. at 21.2 percent and Suarez at 19.7 percent.

Castor, 59, has raised more than $1 million in what has become a spending frenzy in the race to replace term-limited Mayor Bob Buckhorn. In the poll, she led across the major demographic categories, including age groups, gender and political parties.

By 10:30 a.m. Monday, 26,869 people had voted. Early voting ended on Sunday with 7,639 people casting their ballots at early-voting sites. Another 19,230 votes came through the mail. According to the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections, 11. 3 percent of voters have cast their vote.

The polls open at 7 a.m. Tuesday morning and close at 7 p.m. You can find your precinct by visiting the election supervisor's website at votehillsborough.org.

For more information on the Tampa Mayor's race, go to:

Contact Charlie Frago at cfrago@tampabay.com or . Follow .

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