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Tampa council runoff shows Charlie Miranda is in; Janet Cruz is out

Tampa Skyline

Unofficial results are in for Tuesday's Tampa City Council runoff. And the political career of the council's longest-serving member hung on by a thread.

Charlie Miranda was elected to his ninth term on the Tampa City Council, withresults Tuesday night showing him with a slim 50.9-49.1 percent edge over businessman Hoyt Prindle.

Miranda was term-limited out of his city-wide seat and chose to run in a district that includes his home in West Tampa.

A recount will be held only if that lead drops to less than one half of a percent.

Gerri Kramer, with the Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections office, said Wednesday that there are only 49 outstanding ballots that need to be "cured" or rectified by 2 p.m. Friday, when the election results become official. But she said that number is likely not enough to effect the election results.

And former state Sen. Janet Cruz was soundly defeated in her attempt to return to politics by city activist Lynn Hurtak. Cruz is the mother of Mayor Jane Castor's partner, Ana Cruz.

In other city-wide races, Alan Clendenin beat Sonja Brookins by 25 percentage points. Clendenin, who lives in south Tampa, will take the seat currently occupied by Castor ally Joseph Citro. Clendenin will be the council's first openly gay member.

And incumbent Guido Maniscalco will return to the council, after soundly defeating challenger Robin Lockett.

Only about 11 percentof the city's registered voters cast a ballot in the runoff.

Kramer said that's an unusually low turnout. The turnout for the 2019 runoff was 23 percent, but that included the mayor's race in the runoff. Similar runoffs got 14 percent of the city's voters in 2015, and 22 percent in 2011.

The contests were seen as a referendum on Mayor Castor's policies. The mayor and the council have had their differences recently over everything from oversight of the city police department to a controversial wastewater reuse proposal.

Castor was returned to office for a second term during the general election in March, with only a write-in candidate in opposition.

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
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