Mitch Perry's review of top Tampa Bay stories of 2017 – Florida Politics – Florida Politics (blog)
While most of the country considered 2017 an electoral “off-year,” that wasn’t the case in the Tampa Bay region, thanks to the St. Petersburg municipal elections.
Here’s this reporter’s list of the top ten political news stories of the year:
10. — Bob Buckhorn decides not to run for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.
For years, the Tampa mayor’s name was always listed in Florida political reporters stories about potential 2018 Democratic gubernatorial possibilities, and the mayor did nothing to quash such speculation.
But his ascendant trajectory took a significant hit in 2015, shortly after his re-election victory by an otherworldly 96 percent. First and foremost was the backlash to his reaction to a Tampa Bay Times expose of the Tampa Police Department’s disproportionate citing of black cyclists for infractions. That issue led to a variety of progressive groups to call for a police citizen’s review board, but the mayor initially resisted those efforts, alienating him from many of his Democratic Party friends.
Fallout from the failed Go Hillsborough transit effort also bruised his brand, to the point that by early 2016, all such talk about being a candidate in 2018 began dying down. It revived (momentarily) after a stirring speech to the Florida delegation at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in the summer of 2016, but very few people responded by donating to his political committee formed around his potential gubernatorial candidacy.
When Buckhorn announced in March he would not run for governor, very few expressed surprise. In the aftermath of Donald Trump‘s election, Buckhorn said he didn’t see a path for himself in Tallahassee, and he always wanted to continue to stay close to Tampa as his daughters grow up.
9. — Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan announces that