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In Tally TV appearance, Bob Buckhorn makes his case for governor

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

A couple of weeks ago, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn made his way up to Tallahassee, because who wouldn’t in late June?

Actually, Hizzoner was in the state capital to give a speech at the Tallahassee Tiger Bay Club. He also made an appearance on The Usual Suspects, the local public affairs program, where the idea that he is a candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor got some play. And the mayor offered what is usually called a Freudian slip when responding.

When asked by host Steve Vancore about his thoughts on the matter, the Mayor Buckhorn quickly retorted that while he loves going to work everyday, “I’m term limited out in 2018.”

Um. Not exactly?

Maybe we should go back and look at that time clock written about in today’s Times by Rick Danielson.

The mayor is actually term-limited out in March of 2019, but well, you get the picture. (If he were to engage in the Democratic primary, you can bet he’d be out on the hustings by early 2018 in preparation for the August election.)

When asked by the Tallahassee television talk-show host what would be his calling card to sell the masses in the Sunshine State on why he should be given consideration to run the state, Buckhorn said, “I think that mayoral model of governance … combined with a track record of results of moving a city that was in the depths of the recession to a place that is becoming an American success story.”

As he has said before, he said that mayors like himself offer a more “pragmatic and practical approach” to problem solving, and said that minus hardcore partisans, no one was satisfied in the choice between Rick Scott and Charlie Crist for governor last November.

“We need to do better, we deserve better as a state,” he told Vancore. “We need a governor who’s going to inspire us to believe that our best days are yet to come. And I think that if we to some degree can take that governance model that mayors use everyday of getting the partisanship out of it, focusing on results, talking about what unites us, not what divides us, inspiring Floridians to reach higher to believe that this is an amazing state and together we can do something better, I think is a winning strategy.”

But he told Vancore that he hasn’t yet decided what he’ll do in terms of his political future after he’s term-limited out of office — which officially is in 2019.

Buckhorn, a former political analyst for Bay News 9, is always interesting when asked to weigh in on other elections. Like most of the Democratic establishment in Tampa, the mayor’s support for Hillary Clinton is rock solid. He personally introduced Robbie Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager, at a fundraiser in Tampa last week, and said that her recent speech in San Francisco at the U.S. Conference of Mayors event was “as powerful and moving as I’ve ever seen.”

More interesting is his take on the GOP presidential sweepstakes. Buckhorn’s love for all things moderate comes through in talking about Jeb Bush, telling Vancore that “a moderate also translates into a grownup.”

“If he can avoid getting pulled to the extreme right with some of those ridiculous positions that have hurt the Republican Party in presidential cycles, I think he’ll be a very competitive race, and I think a race between Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush will be the best race for the country in terms of having two grownups having legitimate differences, but having a real debate and I think the country will be well served by that.”

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 mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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