TAMPA — Add Ed Turanchik to the growing list of people running for Tampa mayor.
Turanchik, who was a Hillsborough County commissioner from 1990 to 1998, said Thursday that the decision was six months in the making.
"I have found sincere, genuine and enthusiastic support for a mayoral run," he said in a statement.
Turanchik, a Democrat, said he will file to run after the November elections. City elections aren't until March.
After leaving the County Commission, Turanchik led the push to bring the 2012 Olympics to Tampa. He then became involved in a failed attempt to redevelop the crumbling Central Park public housing complex, which had been targeted for an Olympic stadium, as part of a massive 150-acre project near downtown.
In recent years, Turanchik has focused on building green, low-cost housing in West Tampa. The real estate bust, though, forced him this year to turn over his remaining properties to lenders.
Most recently, Turanchik has been doing community outreach for the high-speed rail line connecting Tampa to Orlando.
Turanchik led a push to bring light rail to the region when he served on the County Commission, prompting a newspaper columnist to dub him "Commissioner Choo Choo."
Pam Iorio, first elected mayor in 2003, is leaving office due to a term limit.
The field to replace her is crowded, with former City Council member Bob Buckhorn, County Commissioner Rose Ferlita, City Council Chairman Tom Scott, former Tampa police Capt. Marion Lewis, and businessman Arthur Richardson already in the race.
Rumored potential candidates include former U.S. Rep. Jim Davis and former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco.
In a prepared statement, Turanchik predicted that the race will "scramble the calculations of the most seasoned political odds-makers."
"I'm thrilled that it's going to be a big field," Turanchik said in an interview.
That should add substance to the campaigns, he said.
"It's going to have to be about what will people get for their vote. And that's very positive," he said. "People are so tired of the negatives. In a complicated race, all you can talk about is what you're going to do."
Turanchik declined to give specifics on what he'd like to accomplish if elected mayor, saying those details will come when he formally becomes a candidate.
Janet Zink can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3401.