Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn cast his ballot for his successor Tuesday morning at the Marjorie Park Marina on Davis Island near his home.
But Buckhorn wouldn’t say for whom he voted.
“I will tell you that I voted for the person that I think is best capable of taking this agenda and taking this momentum and moving it forward,” Buckhorn said.
“Over the next five years, over the next ten years with the right leadership we can build on the last eight years just like I build on the eight years before me and take this city to places that we can only imagine.”
While he didn’t spill the beans on who he’s supporting,
Buckhorn did, however, offer some clues into his pick: “You can’t buy your way into this job,” he said.
That seemed to be a dis’ aimed at philanthropist David Straz who has dumped more than $3 million of his own money into his campaign and an affiliated electioneering committee.
Buckhorn is widely expected to back former Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor in the race. The two were allies during his administration before she retired. But he hasn’t endorsed anyone yet.
The only candidate that he said he absolutely had not endorsed was Straz after the wealthy candidate funded an advertisement showing a quote from eight years ago implying Buckhorn had endorsed him. Buckhorn called the quote misleading and its use inappropriate.
Still, the incumbent says he will be speaking up in the runoff.
“I haven’t spent the last eight years building this narrative to have it destroyed,” Buckhorn said. ”I think they’re going to want to know what I think.”
If no mayoral candidate receives more than half the vote after polls close Tuesday, the top two vote getters will head to a runoff election April 23.
Buckhorn leaves office May 1, just one week after his successor would be chosen.
He joked that someone will have to pry his “cold dead hands” from his desk and lamented that he might “like a bad dog, tear up the furniture.”
He said he doesn’t know yet what he’ll do after he leaves office, but that a vacation is in order and it will probably be to his beloved Ireland.
Buckhorn did offer some advice to the person succeeding him.
“Be Tampa’s biggest cheerleader. Pay attention to the details. Inspire people not divide them. Just be accessible. Just be out there and be touchable and be approachable and be everything that you want this city to be.”