Transportation, jobs, a focus on neighborhoods vs. downtown Tampa development, possible property tax hikes. These are some of the issues that are in sharp focus during the campaign to be Tampa’s next Mayor and City Council. Here at 813area.com, we don’t take political positions (other than Tampa rules, obv), but we do make sure you are up to date on all that is happening and that includes making sure you know how and when to express your voice in the 2019 Tampa election.
From how to implement the recently passed All for Transportation charter amendment increasing sales tax for transportation improvements, to selecting a police chief, to property tax rates, the next City of Tampa Mayor and City Council will have a major impact on your daily life. Current Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is term-limited out of office after serving for eight years.
Below is a list of candidates qualified for each office up for Tampa election in March 2019. Just like School Board and judicial candidates, candidates for City of Tampa election run with no political party label next to their name on the ballot. Qualifying ended January 18th, so who is listed below will be the only candidates on the ballot. If you want to learn more about the candidates, many organizations have had candidate forums where you can watch them in action. Click here to watch a mayoral debate from October 2018 hosted by WFLA News Channel 8, click here to watch a January 2019 mayoral candidate forum from Heights Urban Core Chamber, and click here to watch a Tampa Tiger Bay Club City Council candidate debate.
Candidates for Mayor of Tampa 2019 (in alphabetical order): Jane Castor, Harry Cohen, Dick Greco Jr., Reginald Howard (write-in only, name will not be listed on ballot), Christopher "Topher" Morrison, David Straz, Mike Suarez, Ed Turanchik.
City Council, District 1 (citywide): Joseph Citro, Alan Clendenin, David Loos, Craig A. Newman, Walter L. Smith II
City Council, District 2 (citywide): John Godwin, Charlie Miranda, Joe Robinson
City Council, District 3 (citywide): John Dingfelder, Nicholas Glover, Stephen Lytle, Vibha “Ms. V” Shevade
City Council, District 4 (South Tampa): Bill Carlson, Sal Guagliardo Jr., Lee Lowry
City Council, District 5 (East Tampa): Ella Coffee, Todd “TC” Cole, Orlando Gudes, Jeffrey L. Rhodes, Ralph “The Computer Guy” Smith.
City Council, District 6 (West Tampa): Guido Maniscalco, Wendy Pepe
City Council, District 7 (North and New Tampa): Quinton F. Robinson, Luis Viera.
There are three ways to vote in the March 2019 Tampa election and Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections makes it simple.
Vote by Mail: you can vote without ever leaving your house. If you aren’t already on the mail list, you can request your mail ballot from the Supervisor of Elections office here. Remember, the Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections office has return postage already paid, so you don’t even have to buy a stamp! Many counties do not pay return postage for vote by mail ballots. Important note that became an issue in the November 2018 election recounts: make sure your mail ballot is in the SOE office by 7 p.m. on March 5th or your ballot will not count. You can put it in a secure drop box at any of the Early Voting sites, or return it to any of the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections offices.
“Vote By Mail continues to be a very popular option for our voters, simply because it’s so convenient,” said Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer. “And it’s not too late to request a mail ballot.” The Supervisor of Elections office has already sent over 56,000 ballots by mail to voters for the March 2019 Tampa election.
Early Voting: do you like voting in person but at your convenience? Then early voting is PERFECT for you. For the 2019 City of Tampa election, early voting will be open from February 25th through March 3rd at one of seven sites. The early voting sites will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. You can vote at any of the seven Tampa early voting sites listed in the photo below.
Election Day: March 5, 2019 is the traditional election day in the Tampa 2019 election. Polls will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., but you must vote at your neighborhood precinct. If you don’t know where that is, check out the Supervisor of Elections precinct finder here. As a reminder, your mail ballot must be in by 7 p.m. on election day for it to count. Results will be announced shortly after the polls close on election day.
If no candidate gets more than 50% plus one vote in the March 5th election, there will be a runoff election. If a runoff is neeeded, early voting will happen from April 14th through 20th and Election Day would be April 23, 2019. You should mark those dates on your calendar as it is expected the race for Mayor and several of the City Council races will go to runoff elections.
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Photo of Tampa City Hall courtest of author, graphic of Early Voting sites courtesy Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections