It was an early evening for Bob Buckhorn.
Tampa’s incumbent mayor overwhelmingly won his second term with just under 96 percent of the vote.
In one of the lowest turnout elections in more than four decades, Buckhorn, whose only challenger was a write-in, took 24,227 of the 25,260 total votes cast in the mayoral race, with all precincts reporting.
During his victory celebration, shortly after polls closed, Buckhorn told supporters:
“This is the place where people want to be. This is the place that offers the opportunities. This is the place that exudes that hope, that optimism, this is the place that got up off its knees, and said, ‘we’re not done, we don’t quit, we don’t know what the word quit means, we are getting back, we are getting back in the game, and we are going to fulfill that potential that all of us as Tampanians.”
Estimates put the voter turnout on Election Day at just under 12 percent, Tampa’s lowest since the early 1970s.
As of the close of polls Tuesday, almost 7,200 voters had gone to the polls in person. Mail-in ballots were counted at 15,627; early voting clocked in at 2,455.
The biggest potential change in this election will be in the City Council, which strongly backed Buckhorn’s development push, offering little opposition save for a handful of local neighborhood projects.
Buckhorn also predicted clear victories for the four incumbent City Council members: Yvonne Yolie Capin, Harry Cohen, Charlie Miranda and Mike Suarez.
“So what is the next chapter?” Buckhorn asked the crowd. “The next chapter is more of the same … 4 years from now, there will be a different skyline, 4 years from now, this river will be the center of everything that we do. 4 years from now, our neighborhoods will be stronger, … So for me, you have given me the opportunity of a lifetime. …”
In other races, Miranda also easily won re-election, with 59 percent, over Julie Jenkins and Joe Citro for re-election to City Council District 2.
Mitch Perry contributed to this report.