There’s less than a week to go in the Tampa District 6 City Council runoff election, and though the race is officially non-partisan, both candidates are making a partisan pitch to their fellow party members.
“We have a great opportunity in one week to make history. I could be the first Republican in District 6 to win this race,” Jackie Toledo told the dozens of members in attendance at the Hillsborough County Republican Executive Committee meeting Tuesday night at the Museum of Industry and Science in Tampa.
Toledo has been the front-runner for the District 6 race all year long, and almost took the seat outright in her battle against Guido Maniscalco and Tommy Castellano on March 3. But though she had the overwhelming number of votes that evening, she still came up four percentage points short of the 50 percent needed to win the seat outright.
Now with Castellano supporting Maniscalco in the runoff, the race is considered to be considerably closer, though there’s no guarantee that all of Castellano’s voters will switch over to Maniscalco.
“I had my finger pointed in my face one day,” Toledo recounted to her fellow Republicans. “I was told, ‘you’ll never win this seat’ because I’m a Republican. I said I had no idea I’d be making history, because I am winning that seat with your help!” she said to cheers from the crowd, many clad in green on St. Patrick’s Day.
The race has been depicted as being more negative than any recent Tampa City Council election. In this morning’s Tampa Tribune, columnist Joe Henderson takes Toledo to task for her “aggressive” campaign, writing, “I don’t recall any candidate wanting to win a council seat as badly as Toledo. It is that drive to win and the way she is going about it that is making a lot of people nervous.”
But Henderson notes that the Florida Democratic Party has sent out two attack mailers against Toledo.
“We have the Democratic Party united against me,” Toledo said Tuesday night. “They’ve put out mailers, and spent so much money attacking me, because they do not want one Republican on City Council.”