Disclaimer: Practically none of this actually happened. Not yet, anyway.
Hey, all you political-psuedo-celebrity watchers! By now you may have heard about a recent, exclusive party with a guest list made up of those who hope to replace Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio.
Okay, maybe not so exclusive. Along with those who have made intentions clear were the rumored-to-be-running, the running-for-something-but-who-knows-what, the not-running-even-if-we-wish-they-would and the-really-hoping-someone-will-start-a-rumor-that-they're-running. (Look for their names in BOLD, party-watchers!)
You say it's a tad early for a 2011 race?
Please. Some of these people have been politicking since Pam was in pigtails.
At the fete, Madam Mayor herself was there and stylish in a trademark Practical Pam Suit, glancing at her watch so she'd be on time for her next big gig.
"Anyone seen Jim Davis?" she asked, a.k.a. the former U.S. rep who ran unsuccessfully for gov. Alas, no one had.
Resplendent in plaid golf pants and a 100-watt smile was Bob Buckhorn, former City Council member whose hopeful mayoral heart Iorio broke into a million pieces back in '03. Waggish fellow partygoers were having a bit of fun with a nod to one of his best-remembered issues involving nude dancers and their legal distance from customers: Everyone at the party kept 6 feet away from him. High jinks!
City Council member Linda Saul-Sena arrived, brow delicately furrowed. "But why," she asked of the room at large, "didn't everyone drive here in a Prius?"
Out on the balcony, County Commissioner Rose Ferlita was in a spirited arm-wrestling match with rivals Jim Norman and Ken Hagan — and beating each of them handily, judging by the cheers of the crowd. (Even some politicians not running for mayor were invited, out of politeness.) Commissioner Mark Sharpe looked on, anxious. Newbie Kevin Beckner watched closely and took notes.
City Council member John Dingfelder arrived. Fellow member Tom Scott politely asked the mayor when she was leaving.
Charlie Miranda stopped by, but just for a second. He and Ed Turanchik rode over together from West Tampa, since there was no decent public transit or rail to take.
Later, things got rocking with Ferlita and Buckhorn in a fierce arm-wrestle, and with a whiff of party scandal: No one could find Mayor Pam.
A few funsters started prank-calling state Sen. Ronda Storms ("Hey, on that Darwinism thing — you win! I evolved — you, not so much!") They tried to wake up former mayor Dick Greco, too, but — Surprise! Here came Greco himself through the door, ginger-haired, 75, and wearing a Greco-for-Mayor button he said was from the '60s.
Well. You can bet that particular fashion accessory got more tongues wagging than J.Lo's decolletage.
The night got so crazy somebody swore he spotted former USF prez and education comish Betty Castor — the kind of wild talk that signals a great party. Finally, they found the mayor in a darkened back room, checking the Weather Channel for Washington, D.C.
Sigh. No scandal there. But don't worry, funsters. The party will still be going on — for, oh, about two more years.