Turnout low as Tampa candidates hit home stretch listen03/01/11 Kate Bradshaw
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Tags: Mayor's Race, Rose Ferlita, Ed Turanchik, Dick Greco, Bob Buckhorn, Thomas Scott, Mary Mulhern, Charlie Miranda, Joe Caetano, Kelly Benjamin, panhandling, Tampa Mayor, election, Tampa City Council
Today is the last chance for Tampa voters to go to the polls for the city election. The Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections’ latest estimate has voter turnout was around 7.19 percent by 2 p.m. Today WMNF spoke to several voters who braved the weather to exercise their right to vote.
At a precinct on Bayshore Boulevard, South Tampa lawyer David Snyder said he voted for Ed Turanchik for mayor, but that there wasn’t enough information about the open city council seats. He said he wanted a mayor and city council that would fight urban sprawl.
Ann Geuther, also of South Tampa, didn’t want to say who her candidates of choice were. She did say it was hard to find out about where they stood.
More than thirty people are vying for various seats. In any given district, voters had to pick a mayor, three citywide seats, and one seat representing their district. Mayoral candidate Rose Ferlita was at a West Tampa precinct early in the day, where she decried the sparse voter turnout.
Despite the rain, USF engineering student David Mesa stood outside that precinct holding a sign for Kelly Benjamin, a candidate running against incumbent Charlie Miranda for the District 6 Council seat. Mesa that he voted for Turanchik because of the vision the mayoral hopeful has for the city. Mesa said he supports Benjamin because of the candidate’s views on bicyclist safety.
In an East Tampa District, voter Vickie Pittman said she voted for former city council member Bob Buckhorn for mayor. She said it’s vital that the candidates do something about economic development.
East Tampa resident Daniel Rumlin agreed, but didn’t want to say who his preferred candidates were. He said he went for candidates who have a proven track record of economic development.
District 3 candidate Michael Ciftci was campaigning at that precinct. He’s running for a citywide seat, and said he understands why the mayor’s race got so much press, but that it shouldn’t take away from the huge responsibility that individual city council members have.
Further north, at a New Tampa precinct, A resident identifying herself as Rona said she voted for Ed Turanchik because she thinks he’d be fiscally conservative, and went for city council members who would be mostly likely to tackle the city budget.
Jean, who also didn’t give a last name, said she based many of her votes on the candidates’ own backgrounds.
New Tampa resident Ronald Cruz said economic development was front and center, and that he hopes to see the Sulphur Springs area get cleaned up. Cruz, a firefighter, said he voted for Joseph Caetano in the District 7 race. As for Tampa’s next mayor, he said he hopes former mayor Dick Greco wins that seat.
Polls close at seven, and races with several candidates may result in runoff elections later in the month.