Ed Turanchik kicks off his campaign for Tampa mayor at the Armature Works on April 2, 2018 (Photo Credit: Charlie Frago)
Ed Turanchik has said he regrets not honing his message more in his 2011 unsuccessful run for Tampa mayor.On Monday evening, before hundreds of well-wishers at the Armature Works, the former Hillsborough County Commissioner had a tight message: He’s got the vision to make Tampa into a 21st-century city.
Flanked by two large video screens that scrolled his accomplishments and near-misses ("We came so close on high-speed rail…I could taste it."), Turanchik said his priorities as mayor would be Housing, Innovation and Transit.
"Get it? Housing…," Turanchik quipped, pausing for the HIT acronym to sink in. "Now you know the secret sauce, alright?"
Linking affordable housing with next-gen transit linking Westshore, downtown and the University of South Florida, partnering with the private sector to create an innovation culture and doing it all with fiscal prudence was the message that the 62-year-old laid out in his 20-minute speech.
But it all came back to vision.
"That’s why I call this the vision campaign. It’s about reaching as far, as high as we can. To aspire to become a great 21st century American city that provides prosperity for all of us, our children and our grandchildren," Turanchik said.
Turanchik entered the 2011 race late. This time around, he was the third to announce after longshot candidates, businessman Topher Morrison and Michael Anthony Hazard.
But the ballot for the March 5, 2019 election is filling out. Tampa City Council member Harry Cohen announced last week. His colleague Mike Suarez is widely expected to do so soon. Philanthropist David Straz is also expected to run as is former Tampa police chief Jane Castor. Architect Mickey Jacob is also considering a run.
Turanchik has raised more than $100,000 in his first month. He has said, though, that he is counting on grassroots support, not cash, to carry him to victory.
And he promised to hit the ground running.
"We’re going to roll it out fast," he said. "We’re going to build transit and housing together and we’re not going to wait 10 years to do it."