Local Gubernatorial Ties

All things being equal – which they rarely are – would the Tampa Bay Area be better off with a governor from here? Political consultant and USF history professor John Belohlavek cautions about jumping on that parochial bandwagon. For all of our regional rhetoric, notes Belohlavek, this still remains an area rife with “divided loyalties.”

“Frankly, for the folks in Tampa, I’m not sure that Charlie Crist would help a lot,” says Belohlavek. “And I don’t know what a Gov. Jim Davis would do for St. Pete. What I do think is more meaningful are those areas the region shares, such as resources – power and water. That might make a difference.”

Makes sense. You also have to believe that Mayor Pam Iorio would like her Riverwalk chances if the veto pen were in the hands of a Gov. Davis.

It’s all enough to hearken back to 1986 and the gubernatorial campaign of Tampa’s Bob Martinez. The candidate’s campaign manager, the blunt, hard-charging Mac Stipanovich, was asked (by me): “What’s it worth to Tampa to have one of its own in the Governor’s Mansion?”

“Let’s just say that when you call,” responded Stipanovich with an accompanying wink, “it helps if the governor knows the caller.” For those who know Stipanovich, you know that was about as subtle as he gets.

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