In 2016, Luis Viera defeated Jim Davison by just 65 votes to win Tampa City Council District 7.
Could there be a rematch in 2019?
“I haven’t decided,” Davison said Friday morning, the day after Viera officially filed for re-election.
In fall 2016, the two men engaged in an intense battle for the North Tampa seat, emerging as the two top candidates from an original field of six in the special election to succeed Lisa Montelione, who vacated her seat for a state House bid.
On Thursday, Davison spoke in front of the council, telling them he didn’t believe that the city needed to fund a new fire station in the district, specifically at County Line Road and Trout Creek Drive.
Viera disagrees with that notion, saying it goes directly to the challenges that New Tampa faces.
“You have more and more residential development out there in those neighborhoods, and you need amenities, you need basic local government services like police and fire,” he says.
Viera is also proud about that $1.95 million was procured in lsat year’s budget for an expansion of the New Tampa Recreation Center in Tampa Palms, and $90,000 in funding for design and development of a “sensory-friendly” park in the district.
Viera is a Democrat and an attorney. Davison is a Republican and an emergency room physician. Both live in the New Tampa Hunters Green neighborhood.
Viera is a former chair of the Hillsborough County Bar Association Diversity Committee and had chaired the City of Tampa Civil Service Board. He’s also the founder and President of Lawyers Autism Awareness Foundation and previously served on the Board of Tampa Bay Best Buddies, an organization which assists and advocates for people with special needs and developmental disabilities.
During his time on the Council, Viera helped found the North Tampa Veterans Association.
Davison co-founded the New Tampa Transportation Task Force and served on other transpiration committees, including the “Committee of 99,” which endorsed a sales tax to pay for transportation improvements.
In the primary, Davison won the most votes with 30 percent of the electorate. Viera was second with 22 percent.
Davison had been asked by officials with the Hillsborough County Republican Party to consider a run for the state House, as well as the District 7 contest, he said.
Although he hasn’t decided, Davison is actually more focused on working on a transportation plan.
“I haven’t burned any bridges,” he said. “I’m still talking to people who want to raise money for me, but I haven’t given the go-ahead.”
Viera is one of three incumbents on the Council seeking re-election in 2019, along with Charlie Miranda in District 2 and Guido Maniscalco in District 6. The remaining five Council members are term-limited.