Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer put his official stamp Friday on his bid to run for a fifth full term.
Dyer, who unofficially announced in late 2017 that he would be running for re-election again, filed his candidacy paperwork Friday at the Orlando City Clerk’s office, making him a prohibitive favorite to extend his run as the City Beautiful’s longest-serving mayor. He was first elected in a special election in 2003 and re-elected four times since.
“I have been honored to serve our residents and look forward to continuing the momentum of our City and region,” Dyer stated in a news release issued by his campaign. “I am proud of what we have accomplished, but know there is more work to be done. I am more optimistic today about Olando’s future than I have ever been. Together with our commissioners, city employees, and business and community leaders, I am confident Orlando will remain one of the top job-growth markets and tourism destinations in the country.”
The non-partisan election is in November, and to date Dyer, a registered Democrat, faces only nominal competition.
Chief among his opponents is Aretha Simons, who is retired from the Navy, a classically trained chef and president of a business that helps develop non-profit companies. Simons, who entered the race last spring, has raised more than $20,000 for her campaign and also opened up an independent political committee, A New Voice, though it has yet raise any money. Also in the race are Shantele Bennett and Jentri Casaberry, but neither has made much of a splash yet.
Under Dyer’s leadership Orlando has boomed, adding sports, arts and cultural venues in downtown and been recognized as the Southeast’s most sustainable city.
In his news release he pledged to remain committed to his initiatives including the Main Street Program, development of Creative Village in Downtown Orlando, and Medical City in Lake Nona.
An Osceola County native, Buddy Dyer is a graduate of Brown University and the University of Florida College of Law. Prior to serving as Mayor, he served for a decade in the Florida Senate.