Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

In surprise move, Tampa police union backs Buckhorn for mayor

TAMPA — Tampa's politically influential police union reversed itself Thursday and made a surprise endorsement of Bob Buckhorn in the Tampa mayor's race.

The Tampa Police Benevolent Association had endorsed former Mayor Dick Greco before the March 1 primary. That endorsement was based on a vote of union officers, the first time the union had used that method to decide which mayoral candidate to support.

When Greco placed third in the primary, failing to advance, the union said it was not going to endorse a candidate in the March 22 runoff.

But "our association has been receiving a number of calls and personal contacts from our police officers asking us to re-consider an endorsement for Bob Buckhorn," union president and Detective Greg Stout said in a news release Thursday.

"Yesterday, our board of directors was polled and an overwhelming majority voted to endorse Bob as the next mayor of Tampa," Stout added. "Bob Buckhorn has a long history of support for public safety in the city of Tampa and after further consideration we believe Bob will be the best choice to lead our city into the future."

The endorsement came as the campaign took on a much more personal and harsher edge.

In a new ad, Ferlita attacks Buckhorn's business experience and credentials.

And a new third-party mailer from a Tampa group called Less Government Now attacked Ferlita as, among other things, "unsure" and "unelectable."

Less Government Now, which targeted Ferlita in another flier mailed before the primary, has an address on S Howard Avenue in Tampa.

Its treasurer, Tracy Cintron, 34, a Democrat, did not return a call for comments Thursday night.

Also on Thursday, Buckhorn's campaign released a poll showing him leading Ferlita 44 to 38 percent, with 18 percent undecided, according to the telephone survey of 300 likely city voters by Frederick Polls of Arlington, Va.

Buckhorn's poll came out the day after a Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce released a poll showing Ferlita in the lead.

Buckhorn's poll was conducted March 3-6 for the Buckhorn campaign and has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.6 percentage points.

The poll shows Buckhorn and Ferlita splitting the vote evenly in two areas: South Tampa voters and Greco voters.

South Tampa's higher-than-average turnout increasingly plays a critical role in determining the outcome of Tampa's elections.

Elsewhere in the city, the poll showed Buckhorn leading by 8 points in West Tampa, 6 points in northern and New Tampa and 38 points in downtown and largely black east Tampa.

It also showed Buckhorn with unspecified "large leads," according to his campaign, among voters who had supported Thomas Scott and Ed Turanchik, both of whom have since endorsed Buckhorn, in the March 1 primary.

In what is officially a nonpartisan race, the poll suggests that Democrat Buckhorn and Republican Ferlita enjoy the support of most registered voters from their own parties.

Democrats favored Buckhorn 52 to 29 percent. Republicans supported Ferlita 54 to 35 percent.

Independents split 33 to 29 percent in Buckhorn's favor.

Party registration of undecided voters was nearly 3-to-1 Democratic over Republican, according to the pollster, which Buckhorn's campaign welcomed as a good omen.

But a Ferlita campaign consultant said he doubted the truthfulness of the poll.

"I find Bob's release of the poll so contradictory to the 10-point lead that the chamber poll gave Ferlita," consultant Anthony Pedicini said. "It smacks of desperation."

On Wednesday, the chamber poll showed Ferlita at 43 percent to Buckhorn's 33 percent among likely city voters, with 24 percent undecided.

Hamilton Campaigns, which generally works for Democrats, surveyed 300 registered voters who said they are likely to vote in the runoff. The poll was conducted March 2-6 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 5.7 percentage points.

Richard Danielson can be reached at or (813) 226-3403.

In surprise move, Tampa police union backs Buckhorn for mayor 03/10/11 [Last modified: Thursday, March 10, 2011 10:34pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Deputies find unidentified decomposing body in Dunedin canal

    Public Safety

    DUNEDIN — Pinellas County sheriff's deputies found an unidentified male body floating in a Dunedin canal Monday afternoon, the Sheriff's Office said.

  2. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  3. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108
  4. Fennelly: About time Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    It's Andy's time.

    And it's about time.

    Former Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk has been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. He had been eligible since 2009, a ridiculously long wait for someone who scored 640 goals, including a record 274 on the power play.

    LEFT: Dave Andreychuk talks at the podium as he is honored with a statue in front of the now-Amalie Arena.
  5. British government says 75 out of 75 buildings failed fire safety tests


    LONDON — Britain on Monday confronted a rapidly growing fire safety crisis after tests of the exterior cladding on dozens of public housing towers revealed a 100 percent failure rate, raising fears that this month's deadly inferno in London could be repeated elsewhere.

    Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali, presents his first Chrono-Hologram in Paris, France, in 1973. A Spanish judge on Monday June 26, 2017, has ordered the remains of artist Salvador Dali to be exhumed following a paternity suit by a woman named by Europa Press agency as Pilar Abel, 61 from the nearby city of Girona. Dali, considered one of the fathers of surrealism in art, died in 1989 and is buried in his museum in the northeastern town of Figueres. [Associated Press]