Although his announcement in early March that he will not be a candidate in 2018 takes away some of his juice, being mayor of the biggest city representing the biggest media market in Florida means Bob Buckhorn will continue to wield power for the next two years.
The biggest question is, perhaps, how will he use that power?
Circumstances bigger than himself have thwarted one of his main missions — seeing Tampa and the Tampa Bay area start to make some improvements on its desultory transportation scene.
“Bob Buckhorn had a vision for our city that has become a reality and a legacy we can all be proud of,” says Democratic strategist and lobbyist Ana Cruz. “His thoughtful accomplishments have turned a desolate downtown into a thriving metropolis where young professionals, families and businesses intersect on our Riverwalk, at Amalie Arena or on the great lawn at Curtis Hixon Park.
“Bob Buckhorn will go down as one of the greatest Mayors in the City of Tampa’s history,” says lobbyist and Democratic fundraiser Justin Day. “His constant drive and dedication to ensuring our city is one of the best in the world, has paid off. Tampa’s downtown will never look the same, and Mayor Buckhorn is a large reason for that.”
“He would have made one hell of a governor,” Cruz adds wistfully.
Buckhorn’s No. 3 ranking is consistent with his 2016 spot.
Joe Henderson’s Take
“He will go down as one of the great mayors of Tampa and I’m in the camp that believes Buckhorn would have made an outstanding governor. When he chose not to run though, it opened up all kinds of questions. One juicy conspiracy theory involves Congresswoman Kathy Castor. If she gives up her seat to run for mayor of Tampa, would Buckhorn consider running for Congress? I’ve known him a long time and the man does like the big stage.”
For a complete explanation of how this list was created and who made up the panel that amassed it, please read here.