By Jim Bleyer
Political hopeful David Straz, who was awarded an ambassadorship but has never held elective office, will unleash a torrent of cash in an effort to become the next mayor of Tampa, according to longtime political insiders in this town.
The whisper number is $2 million, a ton of dough for a guy with name recognition but a pittance for a privileged man of wealth. If he does spend anywhere near that figure, it might stand as a national record for a city this size, win or lose.
The daunting war chest is so many nickels to a billionaire. He announced this week that he added $10,000 to the already $100,000 in rewards for information leading to the arrest of the Seminole Heights serial killer. That equates to 50 cents for the average person; do the math. And the publicity he reaped from the area’s most prominent fake news source won’t be reflected as a campaign expense.
Incredibly, the simplest reward posting did not go smoothly. Straz failed to coordinate the move with law enforcement authorities. The mayor of Tampa oversees a police department and that relationship requires collaboration and communication in far more complex matters than adding reward money for a fugitive.
Apparently Straz and his brain trust aren’t worried about peaking too early. The election is in March, 2019; the new mayor takes office on Apr. 1, 2019–495 days from now. That’s an eternity for an insulated elitist unaccustomed to answering for past pronouncements, prior political proclivities, and public policy perceptions.
There will be candidate debates, community forums, and challenging questions from both the mainstream press and internet bloggers. Straz will be forced to appear in sections of Tampa he has never set foot in.
Straz’ life and associations, past and present, will become an open book. He’s used to getting his own way and not answering for it.
The race will have national implications as supporters of Donald Trump and his Trojan horses attempt to pick off big city, local races. See Rick Baker.
Straz voted for Trump in 2016 but now that he is running for mayor in a predominantly Democratic city, he has declared he won’t vote for Trump in 2020. That shabby, comic assertion illustrates his disdain for the electorate.
Running for mayor of a large city is a lot different than attending champagne and caviar social galas. Straz better get acclimated to the forbidding glare of a very public spotlight. Even $10 million won’t help him cope with those demands.
The mountains of dinero haven’t run off potential opposition: city council members Harry Cohen and Mike Suarez, former County Commissioner and civic activist Ed Turanchik, and former Police Chief Jane Castor remain strong possibilities, according to their supporters.