Carlton: Greco for mayor? And will this be Buckhorn’s last State of the City?

In 1999, Tampa Mayor Dick Greco took the Oath of office from his son Judge Dick Greco, Jr. The son says he has no intention of running for Mayor next year.  [Times file]
In 1999, Tampa Mayor Dick Greco took the Oath of office from his son Judge Dick Greco, Jr. The son says he has no intention of running for Mayor next year. [Times file]
Published May 11 2018
Updated May 11 2018

This may be the last mystery left in the race to be Tampa’s next mayor, besides who ends up the last man or woman standing:

Will the six candidates battling to replace Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn also have a Greco to contend with?

Last year we heard Dick Greco was considering getting in, too. No, not the Dick Greco who was Tampa’s mayor four times and who remains a popular man-about-town. We’re talking about his son of the same name, retired Hillsborough Judge Dick Greco — Dickie, to friends and family.

Yes, the elder Greco lost his bid for a fifth mayoral gig in 2011. But the star power of the Greco name in this town — particularly on a younger candidate with a respectable resume of his own — has potential force.

Now that former police chief Jane Castor, City Council members Harry Cohen and Mike Suarez, former County Commissioner Ed Turanchik, philanthropist David Straz and businessman Topher Morrison are officially in — and rumored candidate and architect Mickey Jacob recently said no — it seemed a good time to ask Greco the younger about his plans.

Rest easy, declared candidates: Greco says no, intending instead to pursue serving as a senior judge. "There’s a good field," he says of the current hopefuls, and no, if you’re wondering, judges may not endorse.

Speaking of endorsements, Turanchik, a transit and housing wonk, has a campaign video out that includes like-minded Democrats you would expect — County Commissioner Pat Kemp, former City Council member Linda Saul-Sena,

But wait — there’s also radio personality Tedd Webb, an unapologetic and outspoken conservative, telling people to get off their duffs and vote Turanchik.

Politics, meet strange bedfellows.

What gives? Webb told me this week he thinks Turanchik is addressing the city’s traffic and transit woes and should have been listened to 20 years ago. "I’m a fiscal conservative, but we’re overdue, man," he says. "I’m tired of running on bumpy roads."

Donna Lusczynski made welcome news this week as the first woman appointed to be second in command at the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. And by the way, did anyone notice the giant metallic letters behind her spelling out the name Chad Chronister, appointed interim sheriff last year with the surprise retirement of David Gee?

With strong Republican support and a formidable war chest, Chronister will almost certainly be our next sheriff in the next election, given that anointing the next-up has been Sheriff’s Office tradition.

Lucky, because those big letters would have been hard to pry off the wall.

Today Mayor Bob Buckhorn holds court at what’s become an annual city pep rally, the State of the City address — a serious speech he writes down on actual paper instead of speaking from his head. There’s theme music at the event, sometimes a gospel choir.

Since Buckhorn reluctantly leaves office in less than a year, will it be his last State of the City?

Don’t bet on it.

Traditionally, in an amusing bit of Tampa trivia, this city’s elected officials have taken office on April Fool’s Day. Now that date is expected to be extended to May 1st to give elections officials the legally required time to collect overseas ballots. Which gives Buckhorn that much more time in a job he would not leave if he didn’t have to.

He says he would indeed do one more State of the City "if I have things to say, or perhaps a blueprint to offer for the next mayor."

"A lot will depend on how the campaigns take shape and who emerges out of the scrum," he says.

Cue the gospel choir.

Advertisement