Bob Buckhorn says his decision not to pursue a run for the Democratic nomination for Governor in 2018 was mainly predicated on two factors – the fact that he did not want to be away as his 15-year-old daughter spends her last few years at home, and the fact that he loves being Mayor of Tampa more than he could imagine running for statewide office for the next 18 months.
But lurking below is his realization that what he would be selling may not be what Florida voters were interested in buying next year.
“I would have been running on the fact that I was qualified, that I had managed large institutions, that we had a track record of accomplishments, that we were not particularly partisan, but I don’t know if that really matters anymore,” the mayor told reporters who gathered at City Hall for a press conference at 9 a.m. on Thursday.”I don’t know what the American public is looking for in their elected leadership. It is a disconcerting time in our country, and for those of us who aspire to lead, it’s the most unusual time that I’ve seen in thirty years.”
Buckhorn was referring of course, to the electoral earthquake that resulted in Donald Trump winning the presidency last fall over the woman he campaigned hard for in Florida (and even outside of the state), Hillary Clinton.
Although the mayor’s decision today was expected, his trajectory about being a candidate went through an evolution in the past few years.
Based on his successful leadership in leading Tampa out of the Great Recession of the last decade as well as his outsized personality, Buckhorn has been prominently listed as part of a bench of Democratic candidates for statewide office for several years now. That speculation went into overdrive after he created his own political action committee (One Florida) in December of