Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Jim Davis says he won't run for Tampa mayor

TAMPA — Little more than a week after saying he was preparing to run for mayor, Jim Davis decided he will not be on the ballot this spring.

"About 3 o'clock this morning, I came to the conclusion I could not give to this job what it's going to take. Our next mayor has to give 150 percent. I can only give about 110 percent," Davis said Thursday.

He said he found plenty of support and encouragement while exploring his candidacy, but ultimately determined the time isn't right for him and his family.

Davis was a principal in the nonprofit group that promoted a failed 1-cent sales tax in Hillsborough County for transportation improvements, including light rail.

"I have a great job, which allows me to work on great causes like transit, and there will be others," said Davis, a former U.S. representative who is a lawyer with Holland & Knight.

So far, candidates for mayor in the March 1 election are former Hillsborough County Commissioners Rose Ferlita and Ed Turanchik, former City Council member Bob Buckhorn, City Council Chairman Tom Scott, former police Capt. Marion Lewis and businessman Arthur Richardson.

Davis' decision not to run no doubt is a big relief for them. He has strong name recognition, cultivated as a U.S. representative and Democratic candidate for governor.

And he had the backing of popular outgoing Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, who can't run again due to a term limit.

"I am disappointed because I know what a quality person he is," Iorio said of Davis. "I know he would have been an excellent candidate and mayor. But it's a very personal decision about whether to seek this office because being mayor is really all-consuming."

Iorio said she won't endorse any of the remaining candidates.

"I wish them all well. Whoever emerges as the winner, I promise a very positive transition," she said.

The news about Davis is particularly good for former Mayor Dick Greco, who has said he is likely to pursue another term as Tampa's chief executive officer.

Without Davis in the race, Greco has a clear advantage in name recognition. Tampa voters have elected him as mayor four times, most recently in 1999 when he ran with no opposition.

Greco said Davis was never a factor in his consideration of a mayoral run.

"It's not an influence one way or another who's in the race, unless I think it's someone who could do a better job than me," he said.

Greco, who publicly contemplated running for mayor in 2007 but opted not to, said he sympathized with Davis' struggle with the decision and was struck by his tale that he came to a conclusion in the middle of the night.

"If you're interested in what you're doing, it kind of consumes you. I've done a great deal of thinking, too," Greco said. "Jim is a real nice young man. I've known him all of his life. He's not finished politically. He's just waiting awhile."

Davis' exit from the contest also bodes well for Buckhorn, who would have competed with Davis for Democratic votes in the left-leaning city.

Even though Tampa elections are nonpartisan, candidates' political leanings are often clear. Also, Davis ran as a Democrat for Congress and governor, and Buckhorn made a failed bid for a county commission seat as a Democrat.

"He clearly would have been a worthy adversary had he chosen to do it," Buckhorn said.

Scott is one candidate likely to suffer without Davis in the contest. Had he decided to run, Davis would have caused a further divide among active South Tampa voters, whose loyalties for now are likely to be divided among Ferlita, Buckhorn and Turanchik.

"Given all the names out there, this probably will be one of the strongest mayor's races we've had in years," Scott said.

Janet Zink can be reached at or (813) 226-3401.

Jim Davis says he won't run for Tampa mayor 11/18/10 [Last modified: Thursday, November 18, 2010 10:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Review / photos: Sunset Music Festival brings Major Lazer, safety upgrades to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa


    Somewhere beyond the barricades and mountainous LED stages of the Sunset Music Festival, there had to be worry. There had to thousands of parents in parking lots and empty kitchens, anxiously distracting their minds, every now and then checking their phones.

    Major Lazer headlined the Sunset Music Festival on May 27, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
  2. 24-year-old man charged with murder in shooting at Andrea Cove Motel

    LARGO — Pinellas sheriff's officers arrested a 24-year-old transient man Saturday in connection with a homicide at the Andrea Cove Motel in unincorporated Largo.

  3. Photo gallery: Calvary Christian rolls to state title


    View a gallery of images from Calvary Christian's defeat of Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers for the Class 4A title.

    Calvary Christian players circle up on the field before the FHSAA class 4A baseball championship against Pensacola Catholic on Friday May 27, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Calvary scored 6 runs in the first inning, and had 7 hits.
  4. Two girls found safe after being reported missing in New Port Richey

    UPDATE: Both girls were found safe Saturday night, police said.

  5. IT failure blamed for British Airways cancellations (w/video)


    LONDON — British Airways canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports on Saturday as a global IT failure upended the travel plans of tens of thousands of people on a busy U.K. holiday weekend.

    Passengers wait at a British Airways check-in desk after the airport suffered an IT systems failure Saturday at London''s Gatwick Airport. [Associated Press]