Jim Davis will NOT run for mayor of Tampa

In a somewhat surprising development, former Tampa Democratic Congressman and 2006 gubernatorial nominee Jim Davis announced today that he will not run for mayor of Tampa in 2011.

Davis had been discussed as a potential candidate for the past year, and told reporters that he would not make a decision about getting into the race until after the November election.  Then last week he told the media that he was "seriously considering" a run, before announcing today that he will not be a candidate.

"About 3:00 a.m. this morning I just came to the conclusion that I can't give this job what it's going to take."  Davis said that he has spoken with current mayor Pam Iorio and others at City Hall  to determine what its going to take to lead Tampa over the next four years, and he believes it will be somewhat daunting in terms of the city's budget and the continuing weak economy.  "It is an awesome task," he said, adding that the challenge appeals to him, mentioning the city's budget, the climate for jobs, transit, "but I think the mayor is going to have to give 150%, I'm only good for 110%."

Davis departure is good news for all of the announced candidates in the race.  In a poll released on Thursday by Logos Communications of 402 voters in Tampa, Davis came in 3rd at 12%, trailing former Mayor Dick Greco at 23%, and Rose Ferlita at 19%.  Greco is not an official candidate in the race at this time.

Davis had been active in the local political scene over the past half year, working hard on behalf of Moving Hillsborough Forward, the advocacy group that was pushing the transit tax in Hillsborough, which lost badly on election night.

"I have a great job (at the law firm of Holland & Knight) that allows me to work on issues like transit, I will look for other good causes to work on...I'm not going away, but at this particular time that is not the job that I can do, " he said of running the city of Tampa beginning next March.

When asked about Greco's candidacy, Davis again repeated that he believes the next Mayor needs to give "150%" to get the job done.  "Whether it's Dick Greco or any of the others..that's what I think it's going to take....I think the belt tightening at City Hall is going to continue, I think there's no silver bullet when it comes to improving the climate for jobs, but I think there are opportunities.  We gotta make sure the transit thing comes through....but this is not going to be about cutting ribbons."

Jim Davis began his political career representing Tampa in Tallahassee in 1988, when he became a member of the state House of Representatives.  After Sam Gibbons stepped down from his long time seat in Congress , Davis won a contested Democratic primary in 1996, and represented Hillsborough County in Congress for a decade, before stepping down in 2006 to run for Governor, where he lost to Charlie Crist.  He's been working as a lawyer/lobbyist at Holland & Knight since then.

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