Thursday, August 16, 2018
Politics

Carlton: Greco might run for mayor, but not that one

Yes, I know the race to replace Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is a long 20 months away. In politics, practically forever.

But around here, it's never too early to speculate when a particularly juicy tidbit happens our way. So here goes.

Along with a former police chief, at least two City Council members, assorted former politicians, possibly an architect and at least one unnamed mystery member of the business community, how about a candidate named Dick Greco on the 2019 ballot?

As in, the name of the guy who ran this city for four terms and tried for a fifth.

As in, a well-known, bi-county man-about-town who's an integral part of his city's history.

Okay, not him.

Close, though.

[Times files]

Former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco and his wife, Dr. Linda McClintock, in 2016.

Here we are talking about the former mayor's son of the same name, retired Hillsborough Judge Dick Greco. (Though he's known far and wide as Dickie to differentiate for the obvious reasons. It wasn't just his dad — his grandfather, the former mayor's father, was called Dick, too.)

Could this rumor of a new generation Greco candidacy be true?

"I would say at this point it is not out of the realm of possibility," says the younger Greco when I call.

He is 63, Tampa-born-and-raised. He retired from the bench in January after 20 years as both a county and circuit judge, with a stint in private practice in between. He was affable and liked at a courthouse where he currently works as a senior judge.

[Times files]

Tampa mayoral candidate Dick Greco concedes to candidates Rose Ferlita and Bob Buckhorn at Higgins Hall in Tampa on March 1, 2011.

This wacky mayor idea only just came up in recent weeks with friends and family.

So is he seriously considering it?

He wouldn't say "seriously," but he is definitely considering it, he says, a rather judicial response.

"Seems like it would be a great way to serve the community," he says, a more savvy political one.

You could call this a potential game changer.

Jane Castor is the unofficial mayoral candidate who enjoys the most overall name recognition due to her high-profile stint as Tampa's rock star of a police chief. "Dickie?" she says at the news. "I like Dickie. We used to see each other a lot at the courthouse."

Current mayor Buckhorn: "The son? No kidding!"

City Council member Mike Suarez, who is expected to run for mayor himself: "What? . . . okay . . . interesting."

Probable candidate and City Council member Harry Cohen: "I think it's great that so many people want to serve the city."

RELATED: Former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco taught me everything I know about love

So what if Greco-the-junior hasn't decided. Never stopped us from handicapping a race before, has it?

Buckhorn points out the Greco name is known and respected, and that the father is "revered as a Tampa treasure." But this is also a very different town from when Greco-the-elder ran it.

"I don't think anyone loved the job the way he did," says his son, the rumored-possible-but-who-knows candidate.

Here's the for sure part: Whoever's next up at City Hall, it won't be boring getting there.

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