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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Scott Wagman postmortem: 'I'm done with politics'



ST. PETERSBURG -- Mayoral candidate Scott Wagman was all smiles Tuesday evening even as the election results quickly turned against him.

At his election party at the Outback Steakhouse on Fourth Street N, a congenial Wagman had to break the news himself to late-arriving supporters.

“We had high hopes to finish in the top two,” Wagman said. “The public voted otherwise.”

Any regrets about throwing his hat into the mayoral race?

“Absolutely not. This was a terrific experience. I learned that St. Petersburg is every bit the great city that I thought it was.”

What factors did he believe hampered his bid? Weather? Turnout?

“I was completely unknown coming up from zero name recognition, and I think the public is more comfortable with some known quantities. I’ll let the political pundits do the postmortem on turnout, weather, all those things.

“I’m not politician enough to know what the ins and outs are.”

Will he seek elected office again?

“I’m done with politics. I went in here to be the CEO/mayor of St. Petersburg. Management and leadership is my strength. Being a professional politician was never on the menu.”

What about running for City Council/board of directors?

“I wouldn’t touch it. I’m not a board person. I’m not an all-in-favor-aye, all-opposed-nay kind of guy.”

Will he endorse Bill Foster or Kathleen Ford in the general election?

“I haven’t even had time to think about it. I do not know at this time. I honestly don’t.”

Any final thoughts on the campaign?

“I’ve said it before, I can’t lose. What I mean is, if I win I get to be in a runoff for mayor of St. Petersburg. And if I win, if I become mayor, I get to be mayor of St. Petersburg. If I lose I get to pursue some business activities and community involvement activities.”

Wagman said he and his wife, Beth Houghton, will remain active in the city.

“Beth and I, we’ve been involved for 26 years. I’m not going to disappear and hide in a hole.”

Jamal Thalji, Times Staff Writer


[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 12:06pm]


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