Val Demings is in. The former Orlando Police Chief, after much speculation, announced last week that she will vie for the Orange County Mayor position, currently held by Teresa Jacobs. Until now, there has been little fanfare about the top county public office up for grabs later this year. (The Primary Election is set for August 26 and the General Election is November 4).
In Orange County, seven elected members serve four-year terms on the Board of County Commissioners, including the mayor who is elected at large. The mayor and commissioners serve overlapping four-year terms. The mayor and commissioners for districts 2, 4, and 6 are elected during alternate years (2006, 2010, 2014) and commissioners for districts 1, 3, and 5 are elected in presidential election years (2008, 2012, 2016), according to the elections office. Jacobs, a former county commissioner, was first elected mayor in 2010.
This is going to be an interesting race. Jacobs has enjoyed receiving major endorsements and funding, especially in the last quarter, according to news reports. She also has enjoyed no strong competition since launching her campaign last April, with less than a handful of candidates, who have no prior political experience.
This is a non-partisan race, but Jacobs, a Republican, can expect Demings to gain the support of many of her Democratic voters and donors. There are still more registered Democrats than registered Republicans in the county. But there are also over 150,000 voters registered with no party affiliation.
Demings, married to Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings, announced her candidacy January 9 at Lake Eola Park in Orlando. She served as Orlando’s Police Chief from 2007 until she retired in the fall of 2011, after 27 years with the department. She ran unsuccessfully for a congressional seat in 2012.
In other local election news:
- Another candidate has filed to run for Orange County Commission, District 2: Prince Brown. He also lists himself as Treasurer of the campaign. That brings the total number running for the seat to six. The seat is currently held by Commissioner Fred Brummer, who will reach the term limit this year.
- For the District 6 seat, one candidate withdrew: Joshua Paladino. That decreases the total number running to five. The seat is currently held by Commissioner Tiffany Moore Russell, who will also reach the term limit this year. She is running for Orange County Clerk of Courts.
© Orlando Community News, 2014