A legendary Tampa namesake takes the plunge into the mayor's race

Dickie Greco Jr. filed for the Tampa mayor's race Friday. He joins a crowded field of nine candidates.
Published January 11
Updated January 11

TAMPA — Dick "Dickie" Greco Jr. is following in his father's footsteps, filing for mayor Friday and joining a crowded field a week before the qualifying period ends.

Greco Jr, who didn't return a call for comment, retired as a Hillsborough County judge in 2017. He hinted to the Tampa Bay Times later that year that he might consider running to replace term-limited Mayor Bob Buckhorn in the March 5 election.

Greco Jr. joins former police chief Jane Castor, former county commissioner Ed Turanchik, City Council members Harry Cohen and Mike Suarez, retired banker and philanthropist David Straz Jr., small business branding consultant Topher Morrison, community activist LaVaughn King and small businessman Michael Hazard in the race. The qualifying period ends Jan. 18.

His father, Dick Greco, entered politics in 1963 as a Tampa city council member, and then served as mayor from 1967 to 1974, and 1995 to 2003.

The senior Greco lost a comeback bid to the mayor's office in 2011 to Buckhorn.

The junior Greco's entry into the race capped a busy week, which including two forums, the latest campaign filings and a flurry of campaign announcements.

Straz continues to lead the pack in fundraising in a largely self-funded effort from his sizable fortune. He's raised just over $1.6 million so far and spent $1.246 million. He's spent many times more than all the other candidates combined, including two rounds of television ads last year---the only candidate to have aired TV ads.

Overall, December, not surprisingly, was a sleepy month for raising campaign cash. Castor won the month by netting more than $72,000 in individual contributions and an associated political committee. She's raised about $500,000 so far, second to Straz's war chest.

Castor also announced the opening of her West Tampa campaign headquarters at 3007 W. Cypress St. on Friday. Turanchik recently opened an Ybor City headquarters at 1920 7th Ave, in a building owned by Darryl Shaw, a Tampa Bay Times investor.

Before Wednesday's debate, Suarez released a "Neighborhood Bill of Rights" that he said would hang on his office wall if he's elected mayor. Those rights are public safety, transportation, improved services and integrity. Suarez has tried to position himself as an advocate for the 70-plus neighborhoods in the city.

Also during Wednesday's debate, Straz announced an endorsement by the local Ironworkers union and a pledge to conduct an audit of all city departments with outside auditors.

And Cohen held a meet and greet Friday evening at Al's Finger Licking Good Soul Food in East Ybor City.

Contact Charlie Frago at cfrago@tampabay.com or (727)893-8459. Follow@CharlieFrago .

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