Thursday, November 6, 2014

Political Aspirations May Mute Buckhorn's Stadium Support

The great hope for Florida Democrats in 2018 - a Bob Buckhorn gubernatorial run - may be the worst possible thing for Rays fans hoping for a Tampa stadium.

Both Tampa Bay newspapers had stories this morning about the future possibilities for Tampa's mayor, and as William March reports, Buckhorn is one of Florida Democrats' few promising stars:
“You're going to see that bench emerge out of the mayors that have served as CEOs,” he said in an interview later. “That would give us a far more competitive field, more focused on results and with a track record.”

Right now, Buckhorn said, he doesn't know whether he'll be interested in the 2018 race.

“I am absolutely focused on my re-election this spring and finishing the progress we've made,” he said. “If I don't do my job I have no future.”
That means many of the mayor's decisions from now on (and arguably leading up to this point) are to put him in position to run for statewide office. 

I wrote in 2013: "Buckhorn's bright political future may prevent him from ever diving head-first into the Rays stadium issue - it's very risky territory for a politician."

We can expect Buckhorn to cheerlead a new stadium effort in Tampa, but I'd be surprised to see him support a plan that requires substantial local tax dollars.  Tens of millions in stadium subsidies could translate to tens of millions in attack ads in 2018 hammering him as a tax-and-spender.

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