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 [email protected] 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. Fox renewed O'Reilly contract despite knowing of allegations


    NEW YORK (AP) — The Fox News Channel says the company knew a news analyst planned to file a sexual harassment lawsuit against Bill O'Reilly when it renewed the popular personality's contract in February.

    Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly appears on the Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," in New York. O'Reilly has lost his job at Fox News Channel in April following reports that several women had been paid millions of dollars to keep quiet about harassment allegations. [Associated Press file]
  2. Conviction overturned 30 years later in neo-Nazi murder case


    TAMPA — A judge on Friday overturned the murder conviction of Dean McKee now that new evidence has raised doubt about McKee's guilt in a Tampa slaying that occurred nearly three decades ago when he was 16.

    In 1987, a St. Petersburg Times reporter interviewed Dean McKee for a story about young skinheads in Tampa. [Times | 1987]
  3. Experts have some theories on who's carrying out Seminole Heights killings


    The words serial killer tend to conjure an image of a middle-aged white man, likely a loner. He stabs or chokes or strangles, murdering up close for the thrill, straight out of central casting.

    A memorial was set up where Anthony Naiboa, 20, was found shot to death in Seminole Heights. Some experts who have reviewed information in the case say that whoever is behind the three Seminole Heights killings may live in the area. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL  |  Times]
  4. Late fumble, field goal send Florida State to another loss


    TALLAHASSEE — Florida State's streak of 35 consecutive bowl appearances is in serious jeopardy after a last-second 31-28 home loss to Louisville on Saturday.

    Louisville's Lamar Jackson gets past Florida State's Matthew Thomas to score in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, in Tallahassee Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon) FLSC102
  5. Funeral starts for soldier at center of Trump fight


    COOPER CITY, Fla. (AP) — Mourners remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him.

    The casket of Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens, who was killed in an ambush in Niger. is wheeled out after a viewing at the Christ The Rock Church, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017  in Cooper City, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP) FLMIH102