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Gwen Graham’s Woeful Hillsborough Performance Reflects on Tampa Bay Times, Buckhorn

August 30, 2018 - 10:45am
Bob Buckhorn, Paul Tash and Gwen Graham
Bob Buckhorn, Paul Tash and Gwen Graham

The Tampa Bay Times once meant something in Hillsborough County despite its sparring with a credible rival in the Tampa Tribune. But that era ended years ago.

Someone forgot to pass that info on to Times publisher Paul Tash and the self-important, ivory-towered Poynter Institute executives who still fantasize their editorial endorsements and biased news coverage cut any ice on the Tampa side of the water.

The financially-strapped Times went all in for former one-term Congresswoman Gwen Graham, publishing slanted articles for months prior to the inevitable editorial endorsement.  Graham’s father, former governor and U. S. Sen. Bob Graham, sits on the Poynter Foundation board and it’s a good bet that the struggling Times was angling for more than exclusive access to the state’s chief executive if Gwen prevailed.

Tuesday’s Waterloo primary flushed that plan. Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, whom the Times mercilessly attacked with inane and unfounded innuendo during the campaign, foiled his tormentors by beating Graham and three other hopefuls.

Statewide, Gillum won by 34.4 percent to 31.3 over Graham.  In Hillsborough, the 39-year-old chief executive of Florida’s capital city overwhelmed his legacy opponent, 40 to 34.6.

Those numbers are telling. The Times' incessant lambasting of Gillum, coupled with Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s endorsement of Graham, only proved their impotence after the votes were counted. Buckhorn coveted the lieutenant governor’s slot on a Graham ticket.

The irony: the Democratic base would have deserted a Graham-Buckhorn combo in droves. Gillum has a clear shot at beating the extremely vulnerable Republican nominee Ron DeSantis.

Independent-minded Hillsborough voters proved less an embarrassment for Buckhorn than the Times. The mayor has no illusions that he is despised in the county’s unincorporated areas where he has indirectly referred to residents as rubes and worse.

The ineffectualness of whatever the Times reports/endorses and Buckhorn’s rambling rhetoric has ramifications for two pivotal, imminent local issues:  the November referendum on a 1 percent “transit” tax and next spring’s Tampa mayoral race.

The Times and Buckhorn have been promoting the “Jeff Vinik Tax” for months. Opponents of the regressive and special-interest levy are girding for an explosion of misinformation from mainstream media leading up to the vote in two months.

Term-limited Buckhorn and the Times are already in the tank for controversial former police chief Jane Castor in the seven-way mayor’s race.

Tampa’s future direction will be determined over the next eight months and indications are the Times and Buckhorn will have minuscule to no influence.

Jim Bleyer, a former reporter at the Orlando Sentinel and Tampa Tribune, writes the Tampa Bay Beat blog.


"Gillum has a clear shot at beating the extremely vulnerable Republican nominee Ron DeSantis." Right!! Not!!!!! Gillum is going to make a national and state record though. The first gubernatorial candidate to be indicted and imprisoned during a campaign.

Move over California here we come.

Graham lost for two reasons. The negative lies In TV Ads by Jeff Green and the negative ads by Gillium's campaign. Well a third reason: Too many candidates running in Democrat primary splitting the vote between seven candidates. And fourth: George Soros, Tom Styber and Bernie Sanders with their off the chart radical wing socialist agenda !!

Graham should have hounded Gillum's FBI investigations. Now that the Democrats didn't go there during their campaign, you can bet Desantis will!!! Gillum has NO DEFENSE against that. Gillum will be dispatched almost immediately upon the first debate, Trump style. The only reason it won't happen more quickly is because the FBI waited to see if Gillum would lose, making it easy to indict Gillum at that point. Now, the quagmire is that it will start a Soros-backed race war if the FBI pops the little crook right now. After all, Gillum is being projected as a miniMLK, that he certainly is not. More like a Mussolini. I predict Gillum will mysteriuosly resign and disappear as a trade off move with the FBI. Unfortunately, this may get very ugly regardless.

My Parakeet died,.. so i have no use for the Tampa Bay Times any longer ! "Nepotistic Gwennie" did it to herself, usual ! Like Hillary, Gwennie thought she would be annointed... but then, that's HER 'special form' of campaigning ("Hi, my Dad was once Governor; therefore I should be too...)

Most likely, it reflects on circuit judge heather pinder-rodriguez who is the poster-woman for judicial incompetence, judicial bias, and judicial activism. Sadly, this alleged judge makes over $160,000 in taxpayer money to put her thumb on scales of justice and only side with intentional nonmarital birth mothers (50% of kids are born out of wedlock because of biased and incompetent family-law alleged judge like heather pinder-rodriguez . The only thing blind in the equation is her intentional bias and judicial incompetence. Chief Justice Jorge Labarga warned us about how a heather pinder-rodriguez can destroy trust in our system and ruin families.

Your comment above represents either your basic ignorance of judicial function, competence, and what makes a qualified judge - or your political view of what you subjectively think justice should be. Be glad we still have civil justice. But then, you probably can't think that far ahead.

"Bobby-boy" Warner is the "house jester" for "SSN"; pay him little or no attention and his ignorance will surely come to the fore and reveal his well known shortcomings !

Gwen wouldn't attack Gillum for his many looming problems but still she was looking pretty good until she went nuts and started attacking the NRA. Calling out the NRA's lobbyist, Ms Hammer by name and essentially threatening her job was tacky and petty and it turned people off. Who wants a governor who behaves childishly? In a campaign, if you're afraid to attack your opponents, you don't compensate by attacking a non-candidate and trying to pretend you're a bad-ass. She went after Hammer to boost her own importance and shot herself in the foot.

The NRA has dug it's own grave in Florida. Just for the record.

...see what I mean...?

Actually it looks like Andrew has dug Gwen's

Come together, or this time, we lose it all.

Bobby, you've already lost, you just having figured it out yet.

All you Trolls who repeat the unrepeatable that DeSantis uttered his very first day will have to eat those words come election day..Gillum will win ! BTW It's Graham who should be on the ticket as Lt governor..powerful ticket..

Trump only won Florida by about a single percentage point in 2016 ... and Florida did go for Obama in 2008 and 2012 ... so ... Gillum and the Democrats can most certainly be a winner here in November! In terms of Graham, she's probably too 'Republican-lite' in terms of Gillum's platform ... but ... some Independents may find that a little moderation would be a good thing. (?)

Move over California here we come.

Buffoon Bob appears to be the political kiss of death in Florida. He went all in with Hillary! also. You think Andy has a shot? Raising taxes, sanctuary cities, abolishing ICE and punish law abiding gun owners? Unless Desantis blows it, he'll get crushed.

There is NO way that Gillum will beat Ron DeSantis unless every single registered Democrat votes to monkey around and screws up the State of Florida. Why would they do that? Free stuff? Open borders? Sanctuary cities? Abolish ICE? Higher taxes? Hurt small business owners? $15 minimum wage that will kill businesses. Socialism is not an option.

The Independents will decide the election and I'd guess plenty of Independents will support Gillum's platform, especially given how well he does explaining it! DeSantis will be living at Fox News ... but MSNBC and CNN will make Gillum a definite 'Super-Star' among the non-Trumpnuts.

This is very telling. Mainstream new media's shallow efforts to mask their biased opinions under the cloak of liberal editorialism, just does not pass the smell test revealing for all to see that these faux-journalists simply don't have a clue. And one wonders why the crumbling fourth estate has zero credibility with the general public at large. Thought they might have learned some lessons from the Hillary debacle but I guess the left/socialist/progressive element views those who do not blindly follow in lockstep with their perverted vision 'deplorables'. A badge of honor

I think Gwen also contributed to her own failure with over emphasis on her Father, Being a Mom, and President of the PTA None of those are qualifications for the CEO of a trillion dollar state Also disagree with 'Gillum has a clear shot at beating the extremely vulnerable Republican nominee Ron DeSantis' Gillum is to far left for Florida and he knows this, already backing out of of some of his more extreme campaign promises already

Nope Jimbo you got it all wrong. Boogie man Buckhorn and TBT were not a factor in Gwen's woeful performance. Nope it was Gwen. That's right Jimbo. Gwen beat Gwen. By foolishly "taking the high road". Due to her fear of black folks Gwen was fearful to bring up anything about Gillum's past and woeful record as Mayor. Not one peep about Federal indictments hanging over the heads of all Gillum's future cell mates. Gwen beat Gwen my man Jimbo!!!

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