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Jackie Toledo says if she’s elected, she’ll support Charlie Miranda to remain Council chair

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Although Charlie Miranda hasn’t endorsed anyone in the Tampa City Council District 6 race scheduled for next Tuesday, he himself received an endorsement of sorts today from Jackie Toledo, running against Guido Maniscalco in next week’s runoff election.

“Chairman Miranda has done a great job as our Council’s chairman and there is no reason to take the gavel away. If elected to the City Council, I will enthusiastically vote for him as our next chairman,” said Toledo.

The issue of Miranda’s continuing leadership has become an issue in City Hall politics of late. Miranda has been voted on as the chair of the seven-person board for the past four years, and all indications are that he may be again when the new council convenes in a couple of weeks.

That’s bothered some members of the board, who say that while it’s nothing personal, they think the city is better served with more diversity leading the board.

“I’ve never talked to Jackie or anyone else about that,” Miranda said after being contacted shortly after Toledo’s statement was released. He said he appreciated the support.

“Anything anyone says in politics in a positive manner means something. I appreciate her saying that.”

Miranda is the outgoing representative of District 6. He was elected earlier this month to a fresh four-year term in the citywide District 2 race. He’s neutral in the race between Maniscalco and Toledo, but has condemned the back and forth negativity in the campaign. “They’re both doing that. The Dems started it first, but whoever that company is in Fort Myers (a third party group called Moving Tampa Forward) picked on it, and I don’t know what the hell is going on. I’m staying away from it.”

When contacted, Guido Maniscalco wondered, “Is it a slow news day?” He said he knew that there was a discussion about the issue at the City Council on Thursday, but didn’t have an official comment.

With the election tightening, if it indeed is tightening, undoubtedly the move by Toledo could be construed as a way to bring over undecided voters who are inclined to support Miranda, and perhaps don’t like the idea that some on the council think it’s time for him to step away from leading the board.

“Our City Council benefits from Chairman Miranda’s steady leadership and deep knowledge of our city’s budget and infrastructure,” Toledo says in a statement. “It’s lost on many residents of District 6, including myself, why someone who has done nothing but serve our city selflessly and with dignity is being denied a leadership post he has earned.”

Toledo took 46 percent of the vote in the March 3 primary, with Maniscalco getting 29 percent. The third candidate in the race, Tommy Castellano, received 25 percent. He has endorsed Maniscalco, giving hope to his cause that he can overcome that large gap in just three weeks time.

Early voting continues through the weekend in District 6, with Election Day on Tuesday.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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