Last Tampa mayor debate tonight, as race goes negative | Politics
Tampa, Florida - The runoff election in the race to become Tampa's next mayor is only four days away. Tonight, the two candidates square off in their final televised debate.
With one televised debate left, it's not clear whether these candidates will waste more time slinging mud or focus on the issues they've pushed in the past.
For Rose Ferlita, the focus has been her small business experience and reducing red tape.
Bob Buckhorn has pushed next-generation job creation through groups like USF, Moffitt Cancer Center, and others.
A month ago, this was a relatively adult race between five candidates. Now, with two in the ring, the punches have dropped a bit more below the belt.
Ferlita earned an 'F' from the 10 News Truth Test for a statement in one of her TV ads. The commercial claims Buckhorn supported a policy forcing police to lock their guns in their trunks.
The rule the ad refers to applied only to shotguns, not handguns. It was proposed by a panel that included police officers. And while Buckhorn was an aide to Mayor Sandy Freedman when the rule was enacted, it appears he had little or nothing to do with the policy.
Buckhorn has also gotten negative in his ads. In one, the narrator says, "It's too bad Ferlita's campaign doesn't smell like a rose."
The bitter battling is what led outgoing Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio to endorse Bob Buckhorn. After originally pledging to stay neutral, Iorio said Rose Ferlita's negative turn through that TV ad and phone calls forced her to pick a side.
The last televised debate is Friday, March 18th. It airs at 8:30 p.m. on WEDU. The runoff election is this Tuesday, March 22nd.