Orlando Commissioners Jim Gray, Regina Hill cruise to reelection

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No incumbent Orlando City Commissioner has lost a reelection bid in more than a decade.

Orlando City Commissioners Jim Gray and Regina Hill cruised to new terms in the city election Tuesday, again demonstrating that Orlando’s voters apparently like how the city and its government are running.

Gray, an executive in commercial real estate investment, won a third full term representing  District 1, a large region on the city’s southeast side. He soundly defeated activist Sunshine Grund and retired Orlando Police Officer Bill Moore.

In unofficial results with all votes except provisional ballots accounted for, Gray had 62%, compared with 23% for Grund, and 15% for Moore.

Hill, a nurse, won a third term representing District 5, which covers much of the east side of the city. She defeated nonprofit executive Shaniqua “Shan” Rose.

In unofficial results Hill had 73%, compared with 27% for Rose.

In what was expected to be the only close race Tuesday, the third incumbent, Commissioner Robert Stuart, also won reelection. With some of the mail ballots still not in, Stuart took 50.7% of the vote in a three-way contest with Nicolette Springer and Samuel Chambers. By topping 50%, Stuart avoids a runoff with second-place Springer.

Gray has touted economic growth and new fire and police services in the region.

Hill pushes the efforts she has made toward community partnerships and on developing affordable housing, starting in the Parramore neighborhood.

No incumbent Orlando City Commissioner has lost a reelection bid in more than a decade. Gray and Hill are part of a seven-member Council that has a combined 85 years in office.

The longevity of the commissioners’ tenures reflects in part the steady growth and economic expansion of Orlando throughout the 21st Century, though Gray’s District 1 and Hill’s District 5 have had decidedly different experiences.

Gray and Hill also stand on their own bases.

Gray has been a highly visible proponent of the rapid growth in southeastern Orlando, particularly in the Lake Nona region, which is being developed with a live-work-play environment combining housing, mid-rise hospitals, medical technology institutions, and offices, and a veritable play land of sports facilities.

Hill has been a strong proponent of balancing redevelopment in Orlando’s long-struggling west side, led by the Creative Village community linking downtown Orlando to the Parramore neighborhood. At the same time, she has been an advocate for development of affordable housing and retention of housing in Parramore and surrounding neighborhoods.

Both were heavily backed by the Orlando establishment, with Gray raising roughly $40,000 through Oct. 15, about 10 times the combined campaign money collected by Moore and Grund; and Hill raising more than $82,000 through Oct. 15, about four times what Rose collected.

Scott Powers

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 [email protected].


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