Ed Narain is still making up his mind about a run for Tampa mayor

ANDRES LEIVA   |   TimesFormer State Rep. Ed Narain  on August 23, 2016.
ANDRES LEIVA | TimesFormer State Rep. Ed Narain on August 23, 2016.
Published June 5 2018

People ask Ed Narain all the time if he's going to run for mayor of Tampa.

Narain admitted as much after being contacted Tuesday by the Tampa Bay Times about a flurry of rumors that he was about to jump in the race.

“A lot of people  have been reaching out, saying I should run, which I found pretty surprising and humbling at the same time,” said Narain, a former state representative who lost a state senate race to Darryl Rouson in 2016 by a handful of votes. “They tell me I’m a candidate that would combine government, business and leadership experience.”

Narain, 41, is a regional director for AT&T and is married with two young daughters. He said he's weighing the cost and benefits of another plunge into politics with what's best for his family.

And, he said, he plans to spend much of his personal time in the coming months stumping for Democrats in the U.S. Senate and governor's races.

He doesn't have a timeline figured out to make a final decision on the mayor's race. The qualifying period for the March 5 election is in mid-January.

The field is already studded with high-profile names with fundraising prowess: former police chief Jane Castor, retired banker and philanthropist David Straz Jr., former county commissioner Ed Turanchik, City Council members Harry Cohen and Mike Suarez and small businessman Topher Morrison.

Narain, who served as chairman of the black caucus in his single term in the House from 2014-2016, said the lack of major black candidates in the race won't figure in his decision.

“If I decided to run it won’t be because I’m black it would be because I’m the most qualified candidate,” Narain said. 

Michael Anthony Hazard, who is also black, is under investigation by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office for illegally voting as a convicted felon. He hasn't been removed from the ballot yet.

It's good to have options, Narain said, but he readily admitted that his loss to Rouson has lingered.

Everywhere I go people say you should really consider this. It’s been tough. When you lose a close race it shakes a little bit of your confidence candidly,” Narain said. “But I’m really weighing what’s best for my family…There’s a lot of time to figure out the mayor’s race.”