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Four Orange County officers win new terms without challenges

Scott Randolph, Bill Cowles, Tiffany Moore Russell, Phil Diamond win new terms.

Orange County Tax Collector Scott Randolph, Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles, Clerk of Court Tiffany Moore Russell and Comptroller Phil Diamond all won new terms Friday when no one qualified to run against them.

Candidates faced a noon deadline Friday to qualify. None did in those races.

Meanwhile two other Orange County offices will be decided in November rather than in the August primary after candidates filed late as write-in candidates for Orange County Sheriff and Orange County Property Appraiser.

August 18 contests also were set for three Orange County Commission races, and four Orange County School Board seats.

Orange County Sheriff John Mina is seeking a full term after being elected in 2018 to complete Jerry Demings’ unexpired term, who won election as Orange County Mayor that year.

In the August 18 Democratic primary, Mina is facing three of his opponents from the 2018 election, Retired Florida Highway Patrol Chief Joe Lopez, former Eatonville Police Chief Eric McIntyre (who withdrew in 2018,) and newly-filed Darryl Sheppard, as well as lawyer Andrew Darling.

The winner of the primary is likely to easily win in the November election. But there will be a November election.

Lou Minnis, who was the lone Republican to file to run, withdrew.

But two write-in candidates, Winston Johnson and Tim Adams, filed late to assure that Mina or one of the other Democrats won’t celebrate until November.

A similar scenario is playing out for the Property Appraiser’s job, where Property Appraiser Rick Singh faces a tough Democratic primary. The winner will have to wait to officially win in November against two write-in candidates.

Singh’s August 18 competition is formidable with Rep. Amy Mercado and businessman Khalid Muneer.

Former Orange County Commissioner Scott Boyd, a Republican, and Tim Loucks are write-in candidates.

For the non-partisan Orange County Commission and School Board races, there also may be November elections, except for in District 6, where only two candidates qualified: incumbent School Board Member Karen Castor Dentel, who is a former state Representative, and Jonathan Hacker. A winner will emerge in the August 18 election in that race.

The other offices’ elections are set for August 18 primaries. If someone gets more than 50% of the vote then, he or she wins. Otherwise, the top two vote-getters will advance to the general.

In Orange County Commission District 1, Commissioner Betsy VanderLey faces Nicole Wilson and write-in candidate Hannah Burns.

In Orange County Commission District 3, Commissioner Mayra Uribe faces her predecessor in that office, former Commissioner Pete Clarke, and Bill Moore, who has run the past two elections for that seat, losing once to Clarke and once to Uribe.

In Orange County School Board District 5, Commissioner Emily Bonilla faces former state Rep. Mike Miller, and Anjali Vaya.

In the Orange County School Board District 5 race, where School Board Member Kat Gordon bowed out, deciding not to seek another term, Rep. Bruce Antone faces Vicki-Elaine Felder and Michael Scott.

In Orange County School Board District 4, School Board Member Pam Gould faces Prince Brown and Dayna Gaut.

In Orange County School Board District 7, School Board Member Melissa Mitchell Byrd will face Ericka Bell and Jeannetta Maxena.

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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