It’s official, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn just drew a challenger

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Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn will not run unopposed for re-election in 2015. Progressive activist Becky Rubright is planning a campaign kickoff party to run a grassroots effort to oust the mayor she calls a “conservative Democrat.”

In a Facebook invite Rubright writes, “Bob Buckhorn doesn’t deserve to saunter, unchallenged and smug, to re-election in March of 2015.”

She’ll be gathering with supporters to brainstorm campaign ideas and start planning strategies on Wednesday at the Mermaid Tavern in Seminole Heights at 7 p.m.

“As you can imagine, I’m going to need a lot of help. ‘All power to the people’ doesn’t happen unless we pull together and make it happen. The debt-riddend, the carless, the bikers, the minimum wagers, and un/underemployed, those fighting off foreclosure, or those dodging public housing closure, this candidacy is for you,” Rubright continues in her post. “This campaign is a movement in and of itself. It’s a referendum on the mayor’s 88% approval rating. Clearly he’s tricked ‘young professionals’ (wherever you stably employed, highly-salaried young people are) and proto-progressives into thinking the condo galore, let’s redevelop Channelside for a 5th time, lifestyle is for them. Perhaps they all believe harassing protesters and destroying poor black communities is progressive? I certainly don’t.”

Rubright worked closely with Occupy Tampa protesters in the months preceding and during the Republican National Convention in 2012. She was pivotal in organizing mass protests and grassroots campaigns defying conventional wisdom. Rubright was arrested for refusing to leave a city park when asked by Tampa police.

In a photo posted on Rubright’s Facebook page she’s seen holding a sign above her head behind Buckhorn that reads, “Since October 1 I’ve protested about money in politics. What I’ve learned is that city laws trump the U.S.A. constitution.”

Rubright is the first candidate to file against Buckhorn.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.