On Tuesday, former U.S. Sen. and Florida governor Bob Graham (D) endorsed city council member Mike Suarez for Tampa Bay mayor. In a statement, Graham said, “His leadership on the environment, our efforts to fight the war on terrorism and his dedication to protecting our elders, is what I admire about his service.” Suarez has also been endorsed by two local first responders unions.
Wednesday, Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik endorsed Jane Castor in the race. In a statement, Vinik said, “I know as our next Mayor, Jane will continue to strengthen our economy and make Tampa an even better place to live and work.”
Seven candidates are running to replace outgoing Mayor Bob Buckhorn (D), who is term-limited and was first elected in 2011. David Straz has raised the most of the candidates so far, $1.6 million, with Castor and Ed Turanchik next at about $220,000 each. Castor topped two summer 2018 polls produced by the group St. Pete Polls, averaging 44 percent with 18 percent of voters still unsure. Straz polled second in those polls with 10 percent support.
Tampa is the second-largest city in Florida and the 52nd-largest city by population in the United States. Twenty-six of the 100 largest cities by population will be holding mayoral elections in 2019. Five (Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, San Antonio, and Dallas) are among the 10 largest cities.
Democrats hold the mayor’s office in 18 of the cities with elections this year. Republicans and independents hold four each.