The seven candidates for Tampa Mayor whose names will be on the ballot spoke Friday at Tampa Tiger Bay Club.
They are: former Hillsborough County Commissioner Ed Turanchik, City Council member Mike Suarez, David Straz, Topher Morrison, Dick Greco, Jr., City Council member Harry Cohen and former Police Chief Jane Castor. There’s also a write-in candidate, Reginald Howard, who was not at the event.
WMNF 88.5 FM will play the entire forum on MidPoint Monday at 12:06 p.m. on February 18.
One audience member asked them, what one word describes your qualifications to be mayor? Most candidates didn’t answer the second half of the question – to list a quality of one of the other candidates that disqualifies them.
The candidates were asked what local and national media they pay attention to. David Straz took a shot at the Tampa Bay Times by calling it the “mullet wrapper over in St. Pete.”
According to a recent poll, Castor has a large lead. One audience member asked Castor whether she’s really a Republican posing as a Democrat. Jane Castor’s partner Ana Cruz works for a Republican lobbying firm. Castor replied that she’s fiscally conservative but socially liberal and that Cruz and her family are staunch Democrats (Cruz’s mother is State Senator Janet Cruz).
The candidates were also asked whether Tampa needs a Vice Mayor position like St. Petersburg. The candidates were split. Topher Morrison said he would choose community activist Connie Burton as his Vice Mayor.
Election Day is March 5. If no candidate wins a majority, the top two will face each other in a run-off election. In that case there will be another debate at Tampa Tiger Bay Club on March 15.
Below are five videos of the forum: