Pam Iorio unleashes her disdain for negative campaigning

Although with a 26 point percentage gap separating Bob Buckhorn and Rose Ferlita in Tuesday's Tampa mayoral election, no one single factor could truly be the difference, outgoing Mayor Pam Iorio's endorsement of Buckhorn on March 11 - after previously declaring that she would do no such thing - has been considered a significant "game-changer." Pardon the cliche, but that's the words that Buckhorn used to describe the endorsement, and on this issue, who are we to argue?

Rose Ferlita is still sore about it, as she told reporters Tuesday night as the final votes were tallied.

But Iorio, who surprised some observers weeks ago when she uncharacteristically blasted Governor Rick Scott after he rejected the federal government's billions for a Tampa to Orlando high speed rail route, proudly spoke out for her endorsement today of Buckhorn two weeks ago.

We thought it was so interesting that we're including all of her remarks when CL popped the question on Wednesday about her endorsement:

"I think if Bob had only won by a couple of hundred votes, it might have been a factor, but his margin of victory was so vast that I find it very hard to believe that my endorsement was the pivotal factor when there’s that much of a vote differential. Bob won because he worked hard, he walked 25,000 homes, he not only garnered my endorsement, but the endorsement of every single newspaper and most of the other candidates who ran for mayor, and because he built a big tent, and that’s why he won, however I would like to say that regarding the endorsement, and I’m glad I did; I would do it over again.

I think we’ve become very accustomed to negative campaigning, we’ve come to accept it.  I’ve never accepted it..I’ve ran for office 7 times, I don’t think I ever mentioned my opponent in any of my races, and I care so much about this city, I don’t want it to become like the rest of the political world.  Where negative politics is considered just the norm, and we all accept it.  The mayor’s race is something special and something different. You’re setting a tone for the community and that tone is very important and it’s important that it always be positive and forward thinking and respectful of your opponents ..imagine if the race had been won based on negative campaigning?  If that had been the case, then the message would have gone out to all people running for mayor in the future that that’s how you win. Instead the opposite message is being sent today. That’s not how you win, and I do feel quite strongly about that. I may be a solitary voice in the political world when it comes to that, but I have always believed that you put yourself out there in a positive way, and that there is no need to knock down your opponent in any fashion at all. And so I think Bob really ran a good campaign, and I’ve proud of the campaign that he ran, and I’m proud that I endorsed him."

WTSP 10 Connects Preston Rudie then mentioned that Ferlita complained Tuesday night that Iorio had told her she wouldn't endorse. Is that what you told her, he asked?

“I told all of you that. It’s no mystery that I wanted to remain neutral, so this is nothing new. I’ve said to probably every single person here. I wanted to remain neutral in the mayor’s race. But when I saw the race going in a direction that I thought was going to set a negative tone for this city that I care so much about, I said ‘I’m not going to stand on the sidelines' because you know what? When you stand on the sidelines you don’t speak up, you’re condoning that. And I’ve never been like that, I speak up. Whether it’s high speed rail, whether it’s negative campaigning, if it’s something to me that’s very important that speaks to the public and how the public perceives politics and public service, I’m going to say something about it, and I always will."

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