Jane Castor was elected mayor of Tampa, Florida in a run-off election Tuesday with a landslide 73 percent of the vote against businessman David Straz. The news makes her the first out lesbian mayor of a major city in the state according to NBC. It also makes her the first openly LGBTQ+ mayor of Tampa.
Castor, who is a former police chief and 31 year police department professional, said that her victory showed that the city celebrates diversity. “We don’t tear people down with negativity,” she said to supporters in a victory speech according to CNN. “So thank you all for believing in that message.” Castor built an insurmountable lead over Straz in early voting, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Straz reportedly sunk about $5 million into his campaign.
The Tampa native will take office following Bob Buckhorn who has been the mayor since 2011. She says she hopes to increase transit options and fight gentrification by working on affordable housing and continue on the trajectory Buckhorn started.
During the campaign, Castor was endorsed by Human Rights Campaign and Equality Florida in addition to seeing support from the police and fire unions. Tuesday night’s win adds her to a list of names like Lori Lightfoot in Chicago, Illinois and Satya Rhodes-Conway in Madison City, Wisconsin that comprise a wave of recent wins for lesbian mayors. In June, eyes will be on Kansas City Missouri as Jolie Justus who is running for mayor and will be the first LGBTQ+ person to hold the role in that city if successful.