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Tampa Bay Times

Tampa Fire Union backs City Council incumbents. And Janet Cruz.

By Charlie Frago,

Former State Sen. Janet Cruz, who is running for a citywide seat on the Tampa City Council, gained the endorsement of the city's firefighters union Thursday. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

TAMPA — It’s a coveted nod in City Council elections in Florida’s third-largest city.

On Thursday morning, Firefighters Local 754 endorsed its slate of candidates after a round of interviews this week.

They backed incumbents, picking Charlie Miranda in West Tampa-centered District 6. Earlier, the union had endorsed Joseph Citro in District 1, a citywide seat, and Orlando Gudes in District 5, which covers East Tampa, downtown and Ybor City in the March 7 election.

They also backed Bill Carlson over Blake Casper in perhaps this cycle’s most-watched council contest for the District 4 South Tampa seat. Carlson immediately tweeted the news.

Guido Maniscalco also got the nod over former council member Mike Suarez in the citywide District 2 race. Suarez had been a stalwart supporter of the fire union during his tenure on council between 2011 and 2019. The union didn’t backtrack on its endorsement of Maniscalco after Suarez entered the race and some new union leadership took over.

The only current member of council not to gain the endorsement of the firefighters was Lynn Hurtak, appointed to her seat in April after the resignation of John Dingfelder.

Former State Sen. Janet Cruz was the selection for the citywide District 3 seat. In District 7, Luis Viera also received an endorsement, but Viera drew no opponent in his race.

“The driving point here is that the loyalty these individuals have shown to the Fire Union members means a lot,” Nick Stocco, the fire union president, told the Tampa Bay Times. “We support those who support us.”

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