Jane Castor, out lesbian mayor of Tampa re-elected
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor has cruised to a second term, securing another four years in leading Tampa towards greater prominence.
Castor, 64, won 80% of the vote. Her chief council opponent, Bill Carlson, held his South Tampa seat while another opponent, Orlando Gudes, lost to Gwendolyn “Gwen” Henderson in the city’s only Black-majority district. Another key race, the District 3 citywide seat, will see a runoff between Lynn Hurtak, a Castor opponent, and Janet Cruz, the mother of the mayor’s longtime partner, Ana Cruz.
The incumbent mayor is a former Tampa police chief, and won her first term in a landslide over the late philanthropist David Straz Jr. in 2019. Her second win came even easier against write-in Belinda Noah.
“I am honored and humbled to be reelected mayor of our great city,” Castor said in a statement. “I am so grateful for the support, trust and enthusiasm of so many residents who appreciate the direction Tampa is heading.”
Castor’s odds of winning were boosted by booming private investment that’s bringing visible change to the city’s landscape with more development planned for Downtown Tampa and a megadevelopment that will soon break ground between it and Ybor City.
Castor won acclaim for her handling of the Covid-19 pandemic response urging residents to follow safety protocols, while also trying to support local businesses.
While Castor’s reelection was decisive, she still may face a City Council that seeks to challenge some of her major policy initiatives, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Despite a last-minute challenge from a wealthy Tampa business owner with some powerful local support, Carlson was the voters’ choice to continue representing South Tampa’s District 4 on the City Council, handily beating back first-time candidate Blake Casper, the former owner of dozens of McDonald’s restaurants who ran on a law-and-order platform.