Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, a Democrat, speaking this week at the Tampa Bay Young Republicans club monthly social, said climate change is real, but declined to embrace the longstanding scientific consensus that it's caused by human activity.
"Climate change exists," he said. "I'm not afraid to say it."
But, he added, "I don't know whether it's man-made or God-made or a combination of all of the above."
Buckhorn made his comments in response to a question from Dayna Lazarus, a clean energy advocate, who's not a Republican but attended the event to put Buckhorn on the spot about the subject.
Buckhorn has said Tampa will join other cities in honoring the goals of the Paris Climate Accord, which President Trump pulled the U.S. out of, but he has declined to set a city goal of using 100 percent renewable energy, as clean energy advocates, including the Sierra Club, ask.
When Trump withdrew from the accords, Buckhorn said Trump "will go down as being on the wrong side of history for a number of things," but this action "may be the most damaging to our future."
But at the YR's meeting, he said the Sierra Club, which sought commitments from mayors for the 100 percent renewable energy goal, is "a special interest group," and "I don't sign petitions that are shoved in my face without a lot of thought."
Crist, Murman hold joint fundraiser
Republican Hillsborough County Commissioners Victor Crist and Sandy Murman, who are both running for countywide commissioner seats in 2018 and made sure they wouldn't be running against each other before they filed, are holding a joint fundraising event July 12 at TPepin's Hospitality Centre.
Both hold district seats and face term limits, and switching to countywide seats will restart their term limit clocks. Murman's limit isn't until 2020, but the only countywide seat open then will be that of Commissioner Pat Kemp, who's expected to run for re-election. The seats Crist and Murman have filed for next year are open, with no incumbents running.
Prior to their filing, according to Crist, they had a conversation and determined they planned to run for different seats. There is no difference between the two countywide seats except who the opponents might be; so far neither has any prominent primary or general election challenger.
Crist said the two aren't running any kind of coordinated campaign, and that donors asked for the joint fundraiser.
"It's just simplifying things and keeping expenses down," he said. "It's easier on the donors if they only have to go to one function instead of two."
He said attendees may contribute to either or both.
Strange host committee fellows
The host committee for the joint Crist-Murman funder includes Jackie Toledo, newly elected Republican state House member from Tampa, along with other local elected Republicans. Nothing unusual there.
But it also includes David Singer, the Democrat Toledo beat to win her seat last year. He's one of several land-use lawyers on the committee – they have a lot at stake in commissioner races because the board regulates development.
Watching Patronis, Buesing
Among those closely watching whether newly appointed state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis decides to run for election to the post in 2018:
• State Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, who would like to run for CFO if Patronis doesn't.
• Former Plant City Mayor Randy Larson and Republican State Reps. Danny Burgess of Zephyrhills, Shawn Harrison of Tampa and Ross Spano of Dover, all of whom would be interested in Lee's seat if he left it vacant.
• Dozens of Republicans and Democrats who might like to run for the House seats of Burgess, Harrison or Spano.
Among those watching whether Democrat Bob Buesing, who lost to State Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa, last year, decides he wants a rematch against Young: technology executive Heather Kenyon Stahl, a Democrat who says she wants to run if Buesing doesn't.
Moody gets nice haul
A "family and friends" fundraiser for Ashley Moody for state attorney general netted $116,000, said Plant City Republican Art Wood, who organized it. The event, which preceded Moody's formal kickoff, was at the home of her brother, a Plant City house their grandfather built in 1925.
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