Kathy Castor is not interested in running for Tampa mayor in 2019.
Elected in November to a sixth term in Congress representing Hillsborough County, the idea that Castor was contemplating leaving Washington to succeed Bob Buckhorn was floated by Patrick Manteiga in his La Gaceta column late last month.
On Tuesday, Castor dismissed such speculation.
“You know, I love my hometown, and I’m in a fabulous position to be able to advocate for my hometown,” she told FloridaPolitics.com. “And that’s what I intend to do — stay right where I am, if the voters will continue to have confidence in me.”
Castor was elected in the Democratic wave of 2006, when the party stunningly picked up 31 seats, putting them back in charge of the House of Representatives for the first time since the Newt Gingrich-led Republican party took over the House some 12 years earlier.
Castor won the open seat left vacant by Jim Davis’s decision to run for governor by winning a primary over four Democrats, including current County Commission Chairman Les Miller.
Florida’s 14th Congressional District seat is considered to “lean strongly Democratic,” though the most recent redistricting before last year’s elections reduced the Democratic advantage in Florida from roughly 14 percent to 7 percent.
Republicans retook the House in 2010, but with Democrat Barack Obama in the White House, Castor was able to maintain some influence, most notably in the president’s decision in December of 2014 to reestablish relations with Cuba. That effort was paved in part by Castor’s 2013 announcement that it was time to end the economic embargo against the Communist island nation.
In doing so, she became the first elected official in Florida to make such a declaration since sanctions took place more than fifty years earlier.
Castor currently serves as the Vice-Ranking Member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, one of the first committees to review the first iteration of the American Health Care Act, the House GOP health care plan designed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The AHCA passed the House earlier this month.
Buckhorn’s second and final term in office as mayor is slated to end April 2019, with nearly two years until Tampa voters will be asked to decide on his successor.