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Iorio, Sanchez square off today

Campaign, debate and repeat. For the past two weeks, this has been the agenda of mayoral candidates Pam Iorio and Frank Sanchez.

Tonight will put an end to those days for both candidates. But for one of the two, a new agenda lay ahead, as he or she will take on the role of Tampa’s new mayor.

Iorio and Sanchez survived the first mayoral election, with five candidates and two write-ins, to move into a runoff to be Dick Greco’s successor. But since the first election March 4 the race has been more like a face-off at times.

Sanchez has dug through Iorio’s Hillsborough County Commissioner days in an attempt to show that she is a “proponent of taxes.”

Iorio on the other hand, has said Sanchez’s comments have been nothing but distortions.

Sanchez cited a county commission meeting in 1990 when Iorio suggested a $1 tax charge on property values to fund a stormwater drainage project. It is this and taxes for roadwork and neighborhood improvement that Sanchez has pointed to during the past two weeks.

Sanchez said while he has never done a television advertisement or direct mail to attack his opponent, the criticism he raised was fair.

“What Ms. Iorio asked us to do was look at her record proposal,” Sanchez said. “There were votes in her record that suggest fellow commissioners found themselves in cases where they had to (propose) property taxes. I think that was a fair criticism, and I think voters had a right to look at that.”

Iorio said there is no truth to what Sanchez has said about her record.

“I think he even realized there wasn’t any truth to it,” Iorio said. “He went down one road I think he backed away from. When he went down that road, the things he pointed out were distortions. People are tired of negative campaigns.”

Neither candidate feels that the criticizing has interfered with his or her platform or campaigns. Both candidates said, leading up to the election, they have continued to focus on their goals for Tampa.

Sanchez, a businessman and former Bill Clinton aide, said his background would bring international business to Tampa. He said it is only a matter of applying the resources.

“I think we need to make better use of the assets, such as the seaport, airport and multilingual workforce,” Sanchez said. “One of the first things Tampa needs is to see itself as an international city, and that requires leadership, particularly in the mayor’s office.”

Iorio was the election supervisor for Hillsborough County for about for about 10 years and during the presidential race and served on the County Commission. She introduced touch screen voting during the gubernatorial election and she said her next goal for Tampa is to improve neighborhoods in the Bay area.

“It’s going to be the cornerstone of my administration to analyze the deficiency in neighborhoods and bring in the supplies,” Iorio said. “We thought our strategy for our first go around seemed to work well, and we just continued it. I think the difference in this race is … past performance will indicate the future performance.”

In the March 4 election, Iorio received 46 percent of the vote, and Sanchez earned more than 20 percent.