Marion Lewis pulls out of Tampa mayor's race

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Mayoral candidate Marion Serious Lewis withdrew from the election Sunday because a lawsuit he filed against the city in 2007 is still pending.

“It takes away from my ability to give the attention and resources that it takes to run a competitive election,” Lewis said in a statement. “In my preparation for the upcoming election, it became very clear that my family and I need closure from the pending litigation before we can move forward in the political arena.”

Lewis ran for mayor in 2007 against incumbent Mayor Pam Iorio while he was a captain with the Tampa Police Department. The city forced him to resign his $100,000 job, claiming state law requires people to resign their jobs if the people they’re running against have the authority to “appoint, employ, (or) promote” them.

Lewis sued the city, arguing the decision was unconstitutional, and Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Marva Crenshaw ruled in his favor, saying the mayor does not have the authority to employ, promote or supervise employees such as police captains.

The city appealed the decision, and the appellate court ruled in the city’s favor. Lewis later petitioned the Florida Supreme Court to hear the case, but the court declined.

The case is back with the Florida Second District Court of Appeal, Lewis said.

“Although the wheels of justice have turned slowly in this case, I believe, ultimately, that justice and due process will prevail over injustice and abuse of power.

Lewis hasn’t endorsed another candidate but said he will share his ideas to address the city’s challenges.

“The next mayor has a monumental challenge of moving this city from the flawed direction of the past eight years to a new direction that will promote employment, smart growth and a healthy economy,” Lewis said in his statement.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.