Although it’s well more than three years away before Tampa voters are scheduled to go to the polls to select a Mayor to succeed a term-limited Bob Buckhorn, that’s never stopped local political junkies from speculating about who might succeed him after he steps down in 2019.
Some names floated about include City Council members Mike Suarez and Harry Cohen, and Hillsborough County Commissioners Ken Hagan and Sandy Murman.
Another name frequently mentioned in some circles is state Rep. Janet Cruz. However, she poured cold water on that notion on Wednesday.
“No!” she said with emphasis when asked whether she was considering a run. “Not at all.”
“Where is that coming from?” she then asked, smiling.
Cruz is focused exclusively on her job representing House District 62 in the Florida Legislature at the moment. In February, she was voted unanimously by her Democratic Party colleagues in the House to become their leader in 2017, succeeding Mark Pafford.
The 59-year-old Cruz was first elected to the House by winning a special election in early 2010 over fellow Democrat Pat Kemp in an intensely fought primary, replacing Micheal Scionti. Among her duties as Democratic Leader Designate is recruiting Democratic House candidates for next year’s elections.
Cruz is scheduled to be term-limited out of her House seat in 2018.
Although Buckhorn’s second and final term in office isn’t scheduled to end until March 2019, that timeline would obviously change should he run for governor in 2018, a possibility he says he’s still contemplating.
Under Tampa’s form of government, a special election would be called if there are more than 15 months remaining in the term of a mayor who leaves office early.