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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

And they're off: Dem race for governor is underway



Politico speculated the other day that Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum could announce for governor Friday at an appearance in Orlando for the Central Florida Urban League's Cornerstone Awards. Seems unlikely that a mayor would announce formally for office outside his own city, but it's a safe bet that both Gillum and Miami Beach Beach Mayor Philip Levine will sound very much like gubernatorial candidates when they address the gathering tomorrow.

That's because for all purposes they already are running for governor. So is former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham of Tallahassee. They're traveling the state, interviewing and hiring campaign consultants, meeting with key donors, activists and others.

Levine has even launched his own political committee, "All About Florida," and  hired former Charlie Crist campaign manager Matthew Van Name to coordinate his political activities. 

Gillum and Graham could announce formally any time now. So could little known Winter Park businessman Chris King. Levine we assume will wait until after April 15, because that's when Miami Beach hosts a National League of Cities conference. The NLC would be reluctant to give him a big platform if he were actively campaigning then against other mayors.

Meanwhile, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn told us last week that he will make a decision about running within 60 days. Our hunch is he doesn't run. That leaves (so far) Palm Beach businessman Jeff Greene and Orlando area personal injury lawyer John Morgan, who have the vast resources that they can wait until next year if they prefer.

[Last modified: Thursday, February 23, 2017 2:00pm]


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