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Bob Buckhorn says it’s all about loyalty as he backs Tom Scott in Democratic Hillsborough Commissioners race

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Bob Buckhorn says he likes “most” of the four Democrats running for the Hillsborough County Commission District 6 race that climaxes next Tuesday, but it’s his sense of friendship and loyalty that has him backing Tom Scott.

Scott previously served on the County Commissioner from 1996 to 2006, followed by one term on the Tampa City Council from 2007-2011. He then ran for mayor in 2011, but afterfailing to get into a runoff, he ended up backing Buckhorn.

Buckhorn had narrowly made the runoff against Rose Ferlita, getting 384 more votes than third place finisher Dick Greco. Although Buckhorn ended up crushing Ferlita in the general election, that was by no means a certainty in the immediate aftermath of the primary. And that’s where the power of endorsements really counted.

Scott met with both candidates before announcing his support for Buckhorn.

“Tom and I have been friends for 25 years, I’ve supported him in every race he’s been in, and he supported me after the runoff in the mayor ‘s race,” Buckhorn said on Monday. “I don’t forget my friends. He was a great public servant, he served East Tampa well, I think would do fine as a county commissioner. I am loyal to folks who helped me, particular when they are deserving of it.”

Buckhorn said that he doesn’t usually get involved in Democratic primary, “unless it’s someone that I have a longstanding personal relationship, someone who has been helpful to me over the years.”

In addition to Scott in the County Commission race, he’s backing Ben Diamond in the Pinellas County House District 68 race, Pat Frank in the Hillsborough Clerk of the Circuit Courts race, and Ed Narain in the Senate District 19 contest.

“There are great candidates in the race,” Buckhorn said about Scott’s opponents – attorneys Pat Kemp and Brian Willis, and former Plant City Mayor John Dicks. “I like most of them in that race. Anyone could do the job, but my friendship and loyalty in this case is to Tom.”


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

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