TAMPA — After telling supporters last spring and summer that he wouldn’t run for mayor of Tampa in 2019, lawyer and civic activist Ed Turanchik says he’s taking another look.
"Six months ago, the answer was no. I’ve moved a bit on that topic and I’m actively taking a look at it and thinking about it," he told the Tampa Bay Times this week.
He has been urged to do so, he said, by "people from a broad range of our community, largely unsolicited. People are saying I’ve always had a big vision for our future and you need to run to get it done."
Turanchik, 62, a Democrat, is a lawyer who practices in government relations, zoning and urban redevelopment.
He’s known for his advocacy of transportation issues, most recently helping establish a public-private partnership for a cross-bay ferry service. He has advocated for rail and bus transit plans, the downtown arena now named Amalie Arena, affordable housing and Tampa’s 2012 Olympic bid.
He served from 1990 to 1998 as a county commissioner and ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2011, but believes he would have won if he hadn’t entered the race late.
"I don’t need a job and I really enjoy what I do," he said. "It’s not about the title or the trappings, but the ability to work and get things done."
Turanchik would join a large field of well-known potential candidates, none of whom has actually declared: former Tampa police Chief Jane Castor, retired banker and philanthropist David Straz, City Council members Mike Suarez and Harry Cohen and possibly others.
Asked what he thinks is missing from that field that he could supply, Turanchik said, "It’s nothing to do with who else is in the field. Everyone who has been named loves our city and has a good heart and intentions. I’m just cut from a different mold and I think people understand that."
He said he has no time line for making a decision, and doesn’t plan to form an exploratory committee as Straz and Castor have. He’s exploring the idea just by talking to people, including his family.