Pam Iorio will not run for CFO or Senate in 2010

05/11/09 Seán Kinane
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Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio announced today that she would not seek any statewide office in 2010.

Florida Governor Charlie Crist will announce his future political plans on Tuesday. It is widely expected that he will run next year for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Mel Martinez. Crist’s decision is likely to set off a chain of other announcements, including the state’s Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announcing a run for governor.

But Iorio’s announcement on Monday means that she will not run to succeed Sink as CFO.

“I did announce today I would not be a candidate for any statewide office in 2010. I’ve spent the last several months exploring it: possibility of the Senate or CFO. And while I would enjoy serving in those capacities, I’ve really analyzed that it would take away – over the next 18 months – from my duties as Mayor and I would end up shortchanging the people of this community.”

Iorio says she doesn’t see she would have been able to run a statewide campaign for office while still being a full-time Mayor of a large city like Tampa.

“We have a budget deficit, as all local governments do that has to be filled. We have to very carefully restructure city government to meet that. Light rail is an initiative that I’ve been supportive of and nurturing along and it’s reaching a point where it really needs a lot of time and effort and support. And I just don’t know how I can do justice to the City of Tampa and also be around the state running for a statewide office. So, I’m not going to run for statewide office, and wish everyone well. I understand Alex Sink is going to run for Governor. I’m very happy about that and hope she wins. And I’ll be happy to support her. We know it’s going to be a very active year, but I’ll be focusing on Tampa.”

Iorio, a Democrat, began her political career on the Hillsborough County Commission in 1985 and became Supervisor of Elections in 1993. She was first elected to be Tampa’s Mayor in 2003 and is term-limited after her second four-year term expires in 2011. But Iorio says she has not made any decisions about running for another position after she leaves the office of Mayor.

“No, it’s so hard to say, it’s so hard to look too far into the distance in politics because politics is an ever-changing landscape.”

On Monday afternoon, Iorio introduced U.S. Representative Kathy Castor as the featured speaker at a Democratic Party of Hillsborough County fundraiser.

“Pam Iorio is an outstanding public servant, so I’m disappointed that she’s not going to consider another step. I think the state of Florida needs her in a leadership role. So while she may be not running again immediately, I anticipate Pam will serve our community for many years to come.”

Pat Kemp is Chair of Hillsborough County Democratic Party and is the wife of WMNF program director Randy Wynne. Kemp also expressed her disappointment that Iorio is not running in 2010.

“I did expect her to be a candidate. She’s also an incredibly strong candidate. … I’m disappointed that she’s not running for office, but maybe she’ll come forward in the future.”

Mayor Iorio’s counterpart across the Bay, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker, told the St. Petersburg Times on Monday that he, too, had “decided against a statewide campaign.” Baker is a Republican. Democratic St. Pete City Council member Wengay Newton reacts to Iorio’s decision not to run for state CFO.

“As a Democrat, I thought it would have been great, you know, to have her replacing Alex Sink as CFO.”

While Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio announced on Monday she does not have any immediate plans to run for another office, Florida Governor Charlie Crist is poised for an announcement on Tuesday. Over the weekend, Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer hinted that the governor may run for Senate.

Greer said that he thinks Crist has “concluded that the problems and issues that Floridians are facing - high unemployment and the economy - can't be solved in Tallahassee, they need to be solved in Washington, and I believe that's what he's going to do.”

Baker's announcement

Iorio biography

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