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Patty Sheehan wins another Orlando term after opponent drops out

Sheehan joins Ortiz in walking to another term

Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan won another term on the Orlando City Council Wednesday when her election opponent withdrew from the race.

Sheehan, first elected in 2000, will be sworn into her sixth term representing District 4, covering the near east side of Orlando.

“I’m delighted. I’m delighted to continue to serve,” Sheehan said. “The feedback I’m getting from everyone is that they are happy.

“The only thing we need to work a little bit on is we haven’t been doing as much traffic enforcement in neighborhoods because we’ve had to put officers in all the schools after the shootings. That’s something we need to work on. But other than that, people seem happy. I’ve been getting some really good feedback. And I’m delighted to be able to rest for the next month,” she added.

Corey DeVogel entered that contest 24 hours before the end qualifying in September, setting up a contested Nov. 5 election. Then he filed paperwork to withdraw Tuesday night. He told the Orlando Sentinel that he did not realize how difficult the campaign might be.

The result of his unexpected filing to run was that Sheehan and her campaign had to gear up, raise money, get out yard signs, and work the streets in a hurry.

“We’ve been busting our tails for the last month. I don’t know; it’s a little unorthodox to withdraw after you qualify, but hey, we’ll take it,” Sheehan said. “My team, I have to tell you. I have an amazing team of friends. When we found out we had to scramble, they really came together for me.”

She’s unclear how much campaign money will be left over, as there still are a few bills to pay. She intends to donate proceeds to the Pet Alliance of Greater OrlandoLibby’s Legacy Breast Cancer Coalition, and the Zebra Coalition. She already rented a venue for an election night party, so “weirdly enough we are going to have an election night party.”

Sheehan is the second Orlando Commissioner reelected by default. Tony Ortiz won another term representing District 2 on the southeast side, when no challengers qualified to run against him by the Sept. 14 deadline.

That leaves a hot Orlando contest for the open District 6 seat on the city’s southwest side, where former state Sen. Gary Siplin, health care executive Bakari Burns, and community activist Lawanna Gelzer are battling, and a less competitive race for Orlando Mayor, where incumbent Buddy Dyer is facing challenges from Orlando City Commissioner Sam Ings and businesswoman Aretha Simons.

Sheehan was first elected in 2000, taking 52 percent of the vote in a two-candidate race for an open seat. In 2015 she won her last election with 69 percent in a three-candidate field.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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