Tampa mayoral candidates head for runoff election

TAMPA – Two former Tampa city councilors will head for a March 22 runoff election after a close mayoral election Tuesday.

With all 121 precincts reporting, the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections office showed that the top two vote getters were Rose Ferlita, with 25.8 percent of the votes and Bob Buckhorn, with 23.5 percent.

With no candidate winning more than 50 percent of the vote, Ferlita and Buckhorn will be on the runoff ballot.

“This is a new day, this is a new race,” Ferlita said to her cheering supporters.

Ferlita, 65, served as a city council member and on the Hillsborough County Commission. Buckhorn, 52, spent eight years as a mayor’s assistant and eight years as a Tampa city councilor.

Dick Greco, a former two-time mayor, had 22 percent of the vote. Throughout the campaign, the 77-year-old Greco was ahead in the polls, but he came in third by less than 400 votes. He raised the most amount of money of any candidate in the race, at about $475,000.

In his concession speech, Greco said he would not run for office again and that Tuesday night was his “political goodbye.”

Candidates Ed Turanchik received 19 percent of the vote and Thomas Scott won 8 percent.

Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio was unable to run for re-election because of term limits.

Tampa residents also voted in seven city council races; three of those races will be decided in the runoff election.