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Bob Buckhorn says governor’s race has I-4 “vacuum”

If one of the current field wanted to talk to him about lieutenant governor? "That's fine," said Buckhorn.
ALESSANDRA DA PRA | Times (From right) Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn speaks during a press conference at Tampa International Airport while TIA CEO Joe Lopano and Hillsborough County Aviation Authority board chairman Robert Watkins look on on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, in Tampa, Fla.
Published Feb. 14, 2018
Updated Feb. 16, 2018

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who ruled out a run for governor last year, said Wednesday his oldest daughter recently urged him to reconsider.

Family concerns led to his decision last year not to miss the last years at home of his  16-year-old daughter, Grace.

But she recently, perhaps out of a teenager's self-interest, tried to change his mind.

"Daddy, you have got to run for governor because you have no hobbies. And if you come home in a year, you'll be hanging out with me and I don't want that," Buckhorn said Grace told him. " So the most powerful voice in my world told me that I need to reconsider the decision. But no, I haven't reconsidered the decision although I get asked every day. This race is fully engaged with good candidates and I'm going to finish this job that I love."

An all-consuming race for governor wouldn't mesh with his wife Dr. Cathy Lynch's thriving medical practice or spending time with his daughters. And no one in his family wants to move to Tallahassee, Buckhorn said.

He never gave a definitive "no" when asked if he absolutely wouldn't jump in a race that already features former congresswoman Gwen Graham, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum,  former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and Winter Park businessman Chris King.

And, moments after mentioning that he knew all the candidates well except for King, he noted: "There's no candidate from I-4 so there's a huge vacuum here."

How about lieutenant governor? That elicited a different response from the politician who has held the reins in the state's third-largest city since 2011.

"I haven't thought about that. That's obviously an entirely different situation. That doesn't require physically being in Tallahassee seven days out of the week as the current lieutenant governor has proven. That's not a conversation that I've had with any of them. Whether or not, down the road, it's a conversation they want to have, I don't know. I'm sure there are a lot of great candidates out there that would fit the bill and fill their needs. I'm just going to do my job and let the results speak for themselves. If they want to talk to me about that, that's fine," Buckhorn told the Tampa Bay Times.