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Stockton Reeves goes after Mikaela Nix’s voting record in HD 47 primary battle

Republican Florida House of Representatives candidate Stockton Reeves VI has attacked the primary voting record of his Aug. 28 primary opponent Mikaela Nix, charging that she’s been a Democrat until recently and doesn’t often vote in primaries, in mailers that were delivered this weekend in House District 47 in Orange County.

“MIkaela Nix wants your vote in the Republican primary… but she’s almost never come out to vote for anyone else,” declares the stark-looking red, black and white mailer.

The mailer unleashed a counter-attack from Nix’s campaign Monday, centering on a newly-filed ethic complain filed Friday against Reeves, involving his personal financial disclosures and campaign finance reports.

Reeves’ new mailer includes a breakout of Nix’s voting record in the past seven primaries showing that she was a Democrat in 2006 and 2008 and did not vote in 2002, ’04, ’12 or ’16.

“When our Republican leaders needed every vote, Mikaela Nix couldn’t bother to show up,” the mailer declares.

Nix’s campaign responded Monday morning by counter-charging that Reeves is going negative with misleading information because he’s trying to deflect attention from financial discrepencancies and other matters that Nix’s campaign is seeking to highlight in Reeves’ campaign finance and financial disclosure reports. Her campaign also contends that she switched party affiliation from Democrat to Republican in college after learning more about party ideologies in college.

But Reeves maintains that Republican voters need to know Nix’s record, or lack of record, in voting Republican.

The two are squaring off Aug. 28 in the Republican primary seeking a chance to run against Democratic nominee Anna Eskamani. The district covers north-central Orange County, including downtown Orlando. Incumbent Republican state Rep. Mike Miller is not seeking re-election because he is running for Congress.

“You’ve got an individual who is trying to portray herself one way when she is, factually, something quite different,” Reeves said Monday. “You can say, ‘lifelong conservative.’ But she’s running in a Republican primary, and I think it’s important for voters to know these things. First, she’s not a lifelong Republican; and second, her voting record is abysmal.”

Reeves said he himself registered as a Republican voter before his 18th birthday – legal in the 1980s. And he maintained he has voted in every election since.

“If you’re asking people to make you someone who casts votes in Tallahassee on a variety of issues, I think you should have an intererst in voting in elections, in participating. It’s that simple,” Reeves said.

Nix’s campaign responded Monday by charging that Reeves’ financial disclosures appeared to be hiding something, as they at least initially showed fewer assets than would be necessary for him to lend his own campaign $90,000, as he did last year.

Last Friday former Orange County Republican Executive Committee offiical Scott Prosinowski filed an ethics complaint against Reeves alleging “significant omissions.”

Reeves said his initial financial disclosure filings were not as detailed as they could be and that he is filing an addendum to clarify the matter.

Nix’s campaign also cited a 1994 Orange County political lawsuit case in which Reeves, then a political consultant, and others were ordered by a circuit court judge to stop making a false claim against an opposing candidate.

“Stockton Reeves has a history or running negative and misleading campaigns, and he’s doing it again against Mikaela,” Nix campaign manager Zac Stone said in a written statement. “A judge even ordered him to stop at one time. It’s obvious why he’s doing it; he doesn’t want the voters to know about his financial problems, that he has an ethics complaint filed against him, and that he’s unsuccessfully run for office so many times.”

“As for Mikaela’s voting record, she joined the Republican Party after taking a ideology class in college. Most find that refreshing and Mikaela has made that part of her story,” stated Stone. “She’s been a Republican for ten years and started voting in Primaries in 2014. Before that, she was either in college, law school and in her twenties.”

Pete Clarke charges Jerry Demings failed to act to protect school students

Orange County mayoral candidate and County Commissioner Pete Clarke charged his election rival Sheriff Jerry Demings with failing to do what was necessary to provide enough deputies to protect students in Orange County Public Schools at today’s start of the school year.

Clarke is citing an exchange of memoranda between current Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and Demings late last week, in which the sheriff said the Orange County Sheriff’s Office will need several additional months to provide enough sworn officers to have resource officers at all schools, even though the county authorized funding this summer in the wake of the state law passed in April as a response to the Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

“On the first day of school, Sheriff Demings said an additional 5 months and additional deputies were needed. Where was he in March when the law was signed?” Clarke declared in a news release issued Monday morning by his campaign,. “We did our part, and he failed to do his.”

Demings and Clarke are locked in a three-way battle with businessman Rob Panepinto heading toward the Aug. 28 election. If no one gets more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two advance to an Nov. 6 election showdown.

Later Monday morning, Panepinto jumped into the matter.

“As our kids head back to school today, Mayor Teresa Jacobs is working overtime to clean up Sheriff Jerry Demings’ mess,” Panepinto said in a written statement. “Sheriff Demings promised last Wednesday during our televised mayoral debate that our schools would have the resource officers needed to keep our kids safe. Yet by Friday he suddenly had to admit he didn’t have enough deputies or funding for the school resource officers, even though he had returned millions of dollars back to the county.”

Late Monday, Demings responded with a written statement that read, in part, “It’s deeply disappointing that my opponents in the race for mayor would politicize the issue of school safety.

“Over last 30 years, I have a proven track record of making the safety of our children a top priority.”

In his memo to Jacobs sent on Friday, Demings contended the sheriff’s office will need to add 75 deputies, and that manpower needs to be approved by the Orange County Board of County Commissioners before the hiring and training can begin. “Realistically, even though the funding may be available, initially, the sheriff’s office would not be able to hire that many qualified officers to meet the requirement. Until the new SRO’s can be hired and trained, overtime details of existing deputies will be used in conjunction with OCPS police to provide daily patrols of all public schools in unincorporated Orange County,” he wrote.

Demings then requested commission approval for 75 deputies to satisfy the mandate of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act. In the meantime, he said he has temporarily assigned 38 additioanl deputies to be school resource officers.

“Although these new positions will be employed as soon possible at an estimated cost of $11.2 million dollars, it still will take several months or longer to be fully deployed,” Demings wrote.

Clarke responded with frustration as a member of the board of commissioners.

“The sheriff had the resources, failed to use them, and only needed to make a request if he needed more,” Clarke stated in a release issued Monday. “Every school should be provided a full time resource officer. The safety of our children is of paramount importance, and all resources should have been used to ensure the safety of our students. We have an obligation as public servants to plan appropriately and take action when action is needed.”

Joy Goff-Marcil endorsed by Alex Sink

Democratic Florida House of Representatives candidate Joy Goff-Marcil has received the endorsement of former Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink in the House District 30 race.

“Joy has served her hometown of Maitland thoughtfully as their Vice Mayor and on the council where she had to tackle difficult decisions. She did so by asking the right questions and by making her vote about her entire community, not just a few voices. We need that call to action at the state level,” the Democrats’ 2010 gubernatorial nomineee stated in a news release issued by Goff-Marcil’s campaign.

“Joy is someone who will represent the interests of all of us, not just special interests. I applaud her passion for public education, clean waterways, sensible gun legislation and small businesses. I know with her ability to work with all sides we will take back our state and put all Floridians first again,” Sink added.

Goff-Marcil, a member of the Maitland City Council, is in an Aug. 28 Democratic primary battle with Clark Anderson of Winter Park and Brendan Ramirez of Orlando for the nomination to run in HD 30 against Republican incumbent state Rep. Bob Cortes of Altamonte Springs. The district straddles the countyline to include parts of south-central Seminole County and north-central Orange County.

“Joy is thrilled to have received Alex Sink’s endorsement,” her campaign stated.

Scott Sturgill, Ron DeSantis, Ashley Moody top Sanford chamber’s poll

Republican congressional candidate Scott Sturgill, Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis, and Republican Attorney General candidate Ashley Moody all came out on top in a straw poll conducted Thursday night at a Sanford Chamber of Commerce political hobnob.

The victory for Sturgill, a Sanford businessman, continues his streak of straw poll wins in Seminole County in what has been a bruising overall battle for the Aug. 28 Republican primary for Florida’s 7th Congressional District against Winter Park-based state Rep. Mike Miller, who has been winning most such polls in the Orange County side of the district.

The Aug. 28 primary for that CD 7 race will have about 58,000 eligible Republican voters in Orange and 110,000 in Seminole.

There were more than 340 votes cast in the most popular races surveyed Thursday night at the chamber’s “Last Hoorah Sanford HobNob.” In that, Miller finished a distant third in the CD 7 question.

Sturgill was selected as the favorite by 43 percent of the attendees, incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy by 33 percent; and Miller, 20 percent. Murphy’s challenger from the left in the Democratic primary, Chardo Richardson, grabbed 4 percent, while a third Republican, Vennia Francois didn’t even claim 1 percent, as she got three votes out of 342 cast in that question.

“Winning in Sanford was a great way to end hobnob season,” Sturgill declared in a news release issued by his campaign. “I’ve built my business here and this is where I call home. This is where the entire campaign started with my announcement last July.”

The straw poll marked a rare victory for U.S. Rep. DeSantis in Central Florida hobnob straw polls, though he has been dominating statewide Republican voter polls for the past month. DeSantis grabbed 28 percent of the Sanford chamber markers, to 23 percent for his Republican primary rival Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.

In that survey, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum was the highest-standing Democrat in the Governor’s field, taking 17 percent; while former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham got 13 percent; former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and Palm Beach businessman Jeff Greene each picked up 4 percent; and Winter Park businessman Chris King got 2 percent.

Moody, the former judge from Tampa, continued her dominance of Central Florida hobnob straw polls, leading the Attorney General question by drawing 42 percent of the markers. Her Republican primary opponent state Rep. Frank White of Pensacola finished third. Democratic Attorney General frontrunner Sean Shaw took 25 percent, and White 20 percent. The other major Democrat, Ryan Torrens, was favored by 11 percent.

In every race on the ballot that has partisan competition, Republicans took the top spot in the Sanford Chamber’s straw poll, typical of chambers of commerce polls.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott was the pick in Florida’s U.S. Senate race of 54 percent of the participants, with Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson winning over 40 percent.

Republican Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis got 62 percent of the votes for his bid to stay in office, while Democratic challenger former state Sen. Jeremy Ring got 38 percent.

Republican State Rep. Matt Caldwell topped the straw poll in the race for Florida Agriculture Commissioner, favored by 32 percent; followed by Democrat Nikki Fried, 20 percent; and state Sen. Denise Grimsley, 15.

Republican David Smith was the top choice to succeed outgoing Republican state Rep. Jason Brodeur in House District 28, topping Democrat Lee Mangold 64-36.

Republican state Rep. Scott Plakon got 55 percent in his re-election bid, while his Democratic challengers Tracey Kagan and Darryl Block got 28 and 17 percent, respectively.

Republican state Rep. Bob Cortes got 61 percent for his re-election bid, while his Democratic challengers Joy Goff-Marcil, Brendan Ramirez, and Clark Anderson took 14, 14, and 11 respectively.

Victor Torres, Carlos Smith, Amy Mercado rip Rick Scott on education

Three Democratic Orange County lawmakers joined with the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association Thursday to bash Republican Gov. Rick Scott‘s record on public education.

Outside the offices of the Orange County Public Schools headequarters in Orlando, State Sen. Victor Torres and state Reps. Carlos Guillermo Smith and Amy Mercado all went after the governor for education budget cuts he pushed through in the early years of his first term and consistent efforts throughout both terms to route more tax money into private charter schools.

There’s no immediate legislative effort the lawmakers might be addressing. However, Scott is in a tight battle with Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in the election challenge for Florida’s U.S. Senate seat this fall, and the trio of Orlando lawmakers stepped in as surrogates for Nelson’s campaign, and to throw fuel into the upcoming gubernatorial primary, where Torres and Mercado have endorsed Democrat Gwen Graham and Smith, Democrat Andrew Gillum.

A spokeswoman for Scott’s U.S. Senate campaign called the Democrats’ claims against Scott “ridiculous.”

The Democrats laid it on heavy.

But Torres said they also want to keep up constant pressure on public opinion, even several months away from the start of committee work for the next Legislative Session. “We have to keep sending the message to everybody,” he said.

“Rick Scott has imposed immense hardships on our public schools for the past eight years,” Torres declared. “Republican budget deals under Rick Scott were giveaways to charter schools at the expense of the public school system. Thanks to Rick Scott and Republican legislators, public schools have had to contend with underfunding year after year. We need a change, and Rick Scott is not the answer.”

Of the three Democratic lawmakers, only Smith faces a challenger in this year’s elections, with a late-entry, well-financed campaign by Republican Ben Griffin. Mercado had a Republican challenger, but she dropped out last week, and Orange County Republicans are seeking a replacement.

Griffin commented on the press conference in a written statement by declaring “it’s a shame that my opponent uses his time for a photo op with the local union that advocate for policies that keep low income children in failing schools during an election.”

“Rick Scott has been horrible for our public school system. In his first year as governor, Scott rolled out a proposal that would’ve cut our schools by billions of dollars. Even Republicans in the legislature thought Rick Scott’s public education cuts were too cruel to our public schools,” Smith said.

“Florida under Scott has systematically moved us towards a universal voucher system, and now, we are spending huge amounts of taxpayer money to move resources into private schools. Why, because Rick Scott wants give even more money to people like Betsy DeVos who continue to profit off our education system,” he said, referencing the controversial U.S. Education Secretary who has ties to Orlando. “And our teachers and public school students are paying the price.”

“As a proud mom of six children, I am disgusted by Rick Scott’s neglect towards our public schools,” Mercado said. “Rick Scott and the Republican-led legislature continue to attack and abuse our state education system. They inappropriately fund public schools while openly funneling money to private corporations under the guise of school choice. We must stop this insanity.”

They were joined by Orange County Classroom Teachers Association President Wendy Doromal.

“Rick Scott deserves an F on education issues,” she said. “Since he was elected, Rick Scott has headed a campaign to dismantle Florida’s public education system brick by brick. He has done incredible harm to students, teachers, and public education as a whole. Florida has one of the highest rates of teacher turnover in the nation. We cannot recruit or retain enough qualified teachers under these conditions. Under Scott, Florida’s public schools are underfunded, over regulated, and set up for failure.”

“These claims are ridiculous. Clearly, Democrats have no choice but to continue to use misleading and negative attacks in order to hide the fact that career politician Bill Nelson has no accomplishments to run on,” said Scott’s campaign spokeswoman Lauren Schenone.

“Over the past seven and a half years, Gov. Scott has fought to ensure every child has the opportunity to succeed and receive a world-class education. That’s why he worked to invest record amounts in K-12 education, secure the first statewide teacher pay raise in state history, and expand school choice so students and parents have more options to choose what works best for them,” she added.

Griffin’s statement about Smith continued: If he actually did his homework, he’d highlight Florida’s graduation rate hitting a 14 year high under the Republican majority legislature, including 84.7% in Orange County. Unlike my opponent, I am spending my time going door to door talking to voters who believe that parents, not politicians, should be able to decide which school best meets their child’s needs, regardless of their address or income.”

Poll: Darren Soto leads Alan Grayson 45%-38% in CD 9 race

U.S. Rep. Darren Soto leads former U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, his predecessor and challenger in the Democratic primary for Florida’s 9th Congressional District, according to a poll announced Wednesday night by Spectrum 13 News in Orlando.

The poll was announced at the start of a debate Wednesday night in Kissimmee by Spectrum 13 News anchors Eric Levy and Ybeth Bruzual, who said the station commissioned the poll.

Its results: Soto drew 45 percent and Grayson 38 percent, with 17 percent undecided heading toward the Aug. 28 primary, the station announced. The poll surveyed 875 registered Democrats and showed a margin of error of 4.4 percent.

Grayson immediately took issue with the poll, declaring, “We’ve polled people who have already voted. Among people who have already voted I have an eight-point lead. So that shows voters prefer me, and non-voters favor my opponent.”

The two are battling in one of the most hostile primary fights in the state, and the debate Thursday night began with them immediately going after each other.

The poll also cited the economy [20 percent,] education [19,] and immigration [16,] topping the list of concerns among Democrats polled in CD 9, followed by national security [11.] Grayson complained that interest in impeaching President Donald Trump was not on the list.

Orange Co. mayoral debate more about style than substance

With only a few moments of minor disagreements about how to address broad issues such as affordable housing or transportation, Orange County mayoral candidates Rob Panepinto, Jerry Demings, and Pete Clarke instead clashed Thursday evening over styles: Clarke with heart, Demings with trust, and Panepinto with innovation.

Throughout the mayoral debate hosted by WOFL Fox 35 TV at the Orlando Repertory Theatre Thursday, both Orange County Sheriff Demings and Orange County Commissioner Clarke defended their experience in public service, stressing the need for experience in dealing with people and in responding to crises, while Panepinto, the outsider who started and built businesses in Orange County and led various civic organizations, stressed the need for new ideas to tackle big problems.

The three of them face off in the Aug. 28 election, and if no one gets more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two go on to a Nov. 6 showdown. At times it appeared that Clarke and Panepinto were targeting each other, assuming that Demings, the clear frontrunner by most accounts, would finish first on Aug. 28 and they needed to climb over one another to get that second spot.

Demings, meanwhile, time and again sought to characterize himself as the one, with 37 years experience in law enforcement, that Orange County voters already trusted, and needed in the trusted position of County Mayor.

“I really have the full package in terms of the level of experience. There is no substitute for experience. I want you to understand that. There’s no substitute for experience,” Demings insisted. “It’s easy to lead during times when everything is going well. It takes true leadership when things are going poorly. And you’ve seen me on a number of occasions lead during crisis.”

“The Mayor’s job is to run a $4.2 billion operation with 7,500 employees. I have six years as a County Commissioner, I know the budget inside and out. I have 17 years as a senior-level executive I know every nook and cranny of Orange County government,” Clarke responded. “When you’re talking mosquito control, animal control, the medical examiner’s office fire and rescue, the jail, corrections, medical. There is no private entity you can lean to, to say, ‘Where did I get this experience to run this?'”

That last comment was directed at Panepinto, who time and again pushed his experience in the private sector and the need to bring fresh ideas to a community on the cusp of world-class greatness.

“I’ve been pretty involved in government,” he insisted. “All of the initiatives that I’ve been involved in, the chair of the chamber [of commerce,] executive director of the Orlando Partnership, my time on the [Central Florida] Expressway Authority, work at the Central Florida Foundation, some of the nonprofits, all interact with county and state government.

“But I’ve done it from the outside, so I have seen the impact of government policy on problems that we face and our ability to move them forward,” Panepinto continued. “So actually I think I have the perfect experience, because I know enough about how government operates, but also can look at from a broader perspective but also can see what happens to people on the other side of the table, who are out there creating jobs, building businesses, and serving this community on a daily basis.”

That led to the biggest tussle of the night, after Panepinto charged that neither Demings nor Clarke have that perspective.

Demings essentially counter-punched by implying that Panepinto was not being truthful.

“Can I have a shot at this one?” Clark asked, seeking his own rebuttal to Panepinto.

“I just got whacked!” Panepinto declared, trying to repond to Demings.

“He deserved it!” Demings retorted.

“I think I need a shot because I got criticized as well!” Clarke interceded.

“Look I am not minimizing anyone’s experience… but with all due respect, there is a difference between being an accountant before you were a law enforcement official, and building a business to almost 5,000 people,” Panepinto pushed through.

“Do you still have that business today?” Demings demanded.

“No, I sold it,” Panepinto replied.

“You sold it because you were trying to get wealthy off of it,” Demings declared.

“Oh my goodness!” Panepinto exclaimed.

“Those of us who stayed in the public sector, we’re going to work, I’m going to work, I wasn’t trying to get wealthy!” Demings got out over a growing chorus of audience groans and boos.

“I don’t think I need to respond to that,” Panepinto concluded.

If there were a winner to be declared Thursday, it was incumbent and outgoing mayor Teresa Jacobs, who’s now running for the countywide school board chair’s position. All three, particularly Clarke, to a lesser extent Panepinto, praised many of the ongoing programs at the Orange County Administration Building, the budgeting process over the past several years, and initiatives from her administration, from SunRail expansion plans to partnership programs.

On some hot-button issues, there was little disagreement.

No one wanted to commit to any county-imposed mandates to address minimum wage or other employee issues such as a paid sick leave plan that had been proposed as a citizens’ initiative five years ago and then uncerimoneously shot down in what easily was Jacobs’ most controversial moment.

There was general agreement to let existing programs to serve the homeless be the basis for future policies that address issues of mental health, substance abuse and other commonly concurrent problems, though Clarke was the only one expressing support for a downtown drop-in center for the homeless.

No one had any problem with pledging full commitments to public safety, especially for the schools. This was the topic, though, at which Demings, who could point to significant drops in crime rates, increases in both staffing and salaries for the sheriff’s office, and specific plans for policing, shined.

No one could point to any specific program budgets they would cut.

The closest they came to disagreement on public safety or budgeting was when both Panepinto and Clarke criticized Demings’ habit of almost annually returning unused money that had been requested and budgeted for the sheriff’s department but never spent. Clarke charged that Demings was “budget banking:” asking for more money than he needed each year, money that could have gone into other county services. But Clarke also said he voted for every increase the sheriff ever requested.

“I think I’m the only public safety expert that’s up here,” Demings responded. “What these gentlemen have just said is a bunch of gobbledy goop.”

There were only a few moments of discussion of new ideas about which the candidates didn’t agree.

Panepinto tried, briefly, to talk about his detailed plan, unveiled last week, to address improvements in affordable housing, but had no time to offer any detail, and complained in his closing statement about how that issue really wasn’t explored in the debate. He also talked about his intention to streamline building and business permit programs to save the county money and give the private sector swifter government responses.

Demings talked vaguely about his interest in coordinating Central Florida’s transportation agencies, but Clarke took it a step further, advocating combining them in some way, to use the Expressway Authority’s wealth from toll roads to help pay for train and bus transit expansions and improvements.

Orange Co. Republicans seeking replacement to run against Amy Mercado

The Orange County Republican Executive Committee has opened up for potential candidates to come forward to replace Scotland Calhoun, who withdrew late Friday from her challenge of state Rep. Amy Mercado for the Florida House District 51 seat.

Orange REC Chair Charles Hart said Wednesday he has circulated notices Wednesday to county Republicans and REC members asking anyone interested in running to send in resumes and letters and prepare to meet with him and State Committeewoman Kathy Gibson on Thursday.

“We’re keeping an open mind; we don’t have a front-runner,” Hart said Wednesday.

Calhoun withdrew after party officials concluded she wasn’t eligible, since she would not turn 21 until the spring.

The challenge is to take on Democratic incumbent Mercado in the November election, seeking to be the first Republican to represent the district since redistricting redefined it following the 2010 election.

A candidate who enters the race as Calhoun’s replacement can still appear by name on the November ballot. Last year the Democrats had to replace their candidate in a special election to fill House District 44, but the replacement, Eddy Dominguez was named after the ballots were printed, so the ballot had the name of his predecessor instead of his.

Still, the challenge for a new HD 48 candidate in the solidly-blue and heavily-Hispanic district would be daunting.

The Republican Party hasn’t fielded a candidate in the southeast Orange County district in any of the past three elections. Mercado won victory in 2016 against an independent candidate. Her father, state Sen. Victor Torres, was the District 48 representative before her, winning unopposed in the 2012 and 2014 elections.

Calhoun entered the race in June and was rewarded by the Republican Party of Florida with a $50,000 state party donation to start her campaign. But no such seed money is expected this time, so the next candidate likely would have to start fundraising from scratch, one potential candidate said.

Jerry Demings gets deputy sheriffs’ union endorsement in Orange mayor’s race

Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings has received the endorsements of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 93 for his quest to be elected Mayor of Orange County.

That lodge represents more than 1,000 of Demings’ current employees: deputies, corporals and sergeants in the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

FOP Lodge 93 President Jeff Stinson announced the endorsement Tuesday in a news release in which he stated, “We have worked alongside Jerry Demings for the last 10 years. We have witnessed first-hand that Jerry Demings can deliver a safer, more productive Orange County as mayor.”

Lodge 93’s backing essentially gives Demings a clean sweep of local FOP posts. He previously picked up the blessings of FOP Lodge 25 representing the Orlando Police Department (which he once headed as chief;) Lodge 86, representing Orange County corrections officers (which he once oversaw as deputy Orange County administrator;) and the FOP District 7 office, which represents 24 lodges in 10 counties including Orange and the neighboring Osceola, Lake, Seminole, and Brevard.

Demings faces Winter Park businessman Rob Panepinto and Orange County Commissioner Pete Clarke in the Aug. 28 election. If no one gets more than half the vote, the top two will move on to a Nov. 6 showdown.

“FOP Lodge 93 and District 7 FOP Lodges are proudly supporting Jerry Demings in the upcoming election for Mayor of Orange County,” Stinson added. “We look forward to continuing our relationship with him and working with him toward solutions to the challenges ahead.”

Rob Panepinto’s new Orange County mayor ad focuses on jobs, housing

Orange County mayoral candidate Rob Panepinto is launching his second television commercial, this time highlighting his commitments for a diverse economy, affordable housing and public safety.

The 30-second ad, “Vision,” picks up where his first commercial left off, first providing a human-side for the Winter Park entrepreneur, with shots of him and his family, and then a brief outline of his vision for the county.

He quickly moves through his messages: “We must foster a diverse economy with higher-wage jobs,” he says while walking across a factory floor. “Encourage local business growth. Create more affordable housing. And improve public safety in our neighborhoods.”

Panepinto is going up against Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings and Orange County Commissioner Pete Clarke in the Aug. 28 mayoral election.

At the end of the spot, his message returns to the human side, showing him and his wife sitting on a porch: “Stacey and I are raising our girls here. I want to build a better Orange County for our kids, and yours.”

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