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Tampa’s Mayor Decides Against Running For Governor

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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) — Pointing to his family and a “job that I love,” Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn announced Thursday he will not seek the Democratic nomination for governor next year.

Buckhorn has long been discussed as a potential candidate to succeed Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who cannot run for a third term in 2018. But in a Facebook post early Thursday, Buckhorn cited a combination of factors for his decision to stay out of the race.

“While I absolutely believe that the State of Florida needs a course correction and a new direction, the timing for me and my family would be a challenge,” the Facebook post said. “As the father of two daughters who are 15 and 11, the all-consuming task of running for Governor would cause me to miss the milestones in their lives that I could never get back.

“Furthermore, I have a job that I love. A job unlike many jobs in politics requires that I show up and do what I was hired to do. As the CEO of 4400 great city employees, we are focused on furthering the amazing transformation of Tampa that has occurred over the last 6 years. It is a job that I trained for, aspired to and am eternally grateful to the citizens of Tampa who gave me this opportunity.”

Buckhorn’s announcement came a little more than a week after Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum formally launched his Democratic campaign for governor. That was followed a day later by Orlando businessman Chris King saying he also would run.

Other Democrats considering the race include former Congresswoman Gwen Graham of Tallahassee, Orlando trial attorney John Morgan and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is widely expected to run for the Republican nomination. Speculation recently has also focused on a potential bid by House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’ Lakes.

In his Facebook post, Buckhorn pointed to the importance of winning the gubernatorial race for Democrats, who have not elected a governor since the late Lawton Chiles in 1994.

“I am confident that there will be a number of good candidates on the Democratic side that can speak to the hopes and aspirations of our fellow Floridians,” the post said. “This is a pivotal election for our state and I stand ready to lend my voice to those who would articulate a message that would unite us as a state behind a common vision that ensures that we leave Florida to our children, not a state of diminished possibilities, but a state of unlimited opportunities.”

The News Service of Florida’s Jim Saunders contributed to this report.

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