Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn has already made clear he is not running for governor.
But on Tuesday during a brief appearance in Tallahassee, he sounded like he is still struggling with having passed up a chance to run.
“I’m built for a good fight,” Buckhorn said.
He made clear there were a lot of good reasons to pass on the race, but he said he thinks he would have been a strong candidate. The trouble he said was always going to be how to manage a primary because of his willingness in the mayor’s office to work with Republicans like Gov. Rick Scott on issues.
“That’s what governing should be,” Buckhorn said, acknowledging in a primary it would have been used against him. “I would have had more trouble with the primary than a general.”
Buckhorn said if he had run, he’s not sure if his best selling point - having run a major Florida city - would have carried the same weight as it once did in Florida politics.
“My whole case would have been, ‘look, I can do this job because of [being mayor],’” Buckhorn said.
The field of Democrats running or weighing a 2018 run include Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former congresswoman Gwen Graham, Orlando businessman Chris King, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and personal injury lawyer John Morgan. On the Republican side, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Florida Sen. Jack Latvala have all expressed interest in the race.
All that said, Buckhorn said his real wish is that term limits wouldn’t keep him from running for another term in Tampa.
“If I didn’t have term limits, I wouldn’t go anywhere,” he said.