As the Aug. 28 primary draws closer, there’s more speculation over who the lieutenant governor candidates might be, especially on the Democratic side where Tampa Bay Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s name continues to surface.
In recent weeks, Buckhorn’s name has been brought up as a possible running mate to former U.S. Rep Gwen Graham, who is seen as the front-runner in the race. Buckhorn spoke to the Tampa Bay Times in an interview for a story published Wednesday on the possibility of serving as Graham’s number two person. He says he’s ready to serve.
“She’s the perfect candidate,” Buckhorn said. “She’s measured. She’s tempered. Relatively centrist in her approaches. I think she represents the opportunity to turn the page in this state that’s been controlled by the Republicans for 20 years. I think she does it in the manner of reaching across the aisle to find solutions.”
Graham is considered to be the leader in the the five-person Democratic race. Two recent polls have shown her pulling away from the pack. She’s followed by Philip Levine and Jeff Greene with Andrew Gillum following behind in fourth. Chris King comes in fifth.
In addition to Buckhorn, other names have also been mentioned as possible running mates, including Broward County State Rep. Shevrin Jones and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman.
“There’s nobody who has the track record that is as good as mine,” Buckhorn said in an interview Tuesday, speaking of progressive causes like LGBT issues, the environment, unions and family leave, while also noting his history of working across the political aisle.
Buckhorn has a track record for being able to work with Republicans, an advantage that could benefit him well in Tallahassee where the winner of the governor’s race will likely have to work with a GOP-controlled Legislature. Buckhorn has a unique relationship with Gov. Rick Scott, which has allowed Tampa to receive benefits from Tallahassee.
Whomever wins their party’s nomination will have one week following the election to name a candidate for lieutenant governor.