Bill Mutz defeats QAnon-linked opponent to secure second term as Lakeland Mayor

Bill Mutz will continue his 'still all in for ALL of Lakeland' promise in a second term.

Incumbent Mayor Bill Mutz defeated far-right political newcomer Saga Stevin Tuesday to lock in his second four-year term as Lakeland’s Mayor.

Unofficial results from the Polk County Supervisor of Elections Office show Mutz took 67% of the vote, while Stevin scored 33%, with all precincts reporting. Turnout was low in Polk County with only 20% of voters casting ballots, according to the Supervisor’s Office.

Lakeland’s mayoral race was unexpectedly contentious. It became more about idealogical differences and right-wing talking points than the real issues facing the city, including the fact that it has experienced the second-highest population growth in the country, according to Census data.

Billy Townsend is an activist and blogger in Lakeland. He runs the site Public Enemy Number 1. Townsend said the race was crucial for Lakeland’s growth and for the city to be taken seriously as a part of the I-4 Corridor.

“We could have woken up with a Q-anon/Jan. 6/Trump mayor. And the people rejected it handily,” he said. “It’s also a warning. Nobody wants a Trump running their community. Saga split the Lakeland GOP right in two. And a coalition of RINOs, democrats, independents, and decent normal people showed that a Trump can’t win at the local level, even in Florida. The GOP should take note.”

The race was nonpartisan and candidates’ political affiliation did not appear on the ballot. But Mutz and Stevin are both Republicans. Stevin, however, spent much of the campaign trying to paint Mutz as a “leftist” who supports “marxist” organizations.

Mutz is a Lakeland businessman who spent nearly 20 years running the Lakeland Automall.

Stevin grew up in Lakeland but lived in Minneapolis for 24 years. She moved back last year.

In one of her final campaign newsletters, Stevin falsely claimed Mutz spent more than $12,000 of city money to join the U.S. Conference of Mayors, a center-left organization that adopts policy guidelines. Kevin Cook, the city’s spokesperson, confirmed to Gary White of the Ledger that Mutz has never been a member of the organization.

Stevin told the Ledger someone on her campaign team wrote the newsletter and she just went with it.

The newsletter is almost identical to a post on the Lakeland Gazette website and emails sent by the unregistered Citizens Voices of Greater Lakeland PAC. Citizens Voices and the Gazette share an address, but Gazette owner Robert Anderson said he’s not part of Citizens Voices and Stevin claims to not know who he is.

Both the Gazette and Citizens Voices endorsed Stevin.

Stevin also expressed extremist views, many of which are aligned with fanatical supporters of former President Donald Trump and the internet conspiracy QAnon. She criticized Mutz for moving a Confederate monument from one of the city’s keystone parks and claimed in debates that billionaire George Soros is somehow influencing politics in Lakeland.

Despite those views, she scored crucial endorsements from police and firefighter unions in Lakeland. She was also  endorsed by former Lakeland Mayor Howard Wiggs. Wiggs was a member of the Mayor’s conference Stevin falsely accused Mutz of belonging too. And he spent more than $5,000 of city money to be a part of it.

The latest campaign finance data shows Mutz raised about $72,000 and spent about $40,000. Stevin raised $56,000 and spent nearly $50,000.

Daniel Figueroa IV

Bronx, NY —> St. Pete, Fla. Just your friendly, neighborhood journo junkie with a penchant for motorcycles and Star Wars. Daniel has spent the last decade covering Tampa Bay and Florida for the Ledger of Lakeland, Tampa Bay Times, and WMNF. You can reach Daniel Figueroa IV at [email protected].


  • Mar Deloen

    November 2, 2021 at 9:30 pm

    I’m convinced this was rigged.

    • Ashton Klinsmann

      November 3, 2021 at 12:31 am

      Then let’s take it to the courts. Oh crap! I forgot we actually have to prove that something is true there… I’ll take it back.

  • Johnson Ave.

    November 2, 2021 at 9:58 pm

    Thanks Billy Townsend for using your broad brush to condemn anyone who may disagree with your opinion. I’m sure you fully support the failed president we have now.

    • Q-Anon

      November 3, 2021 at 12:38 am

      Don’t worry our not-totally-failed reality god president will be reinstated with the help of a Democrat with a Kennedy last name… the only true opinion is the one that makes sense. So don’t trust experts on anything, just do your own research your google skills are way more powerful and accurate than than any so called expert with a PhD. Democracy means my opinion right or wrong is equally valid to any expert knowledge.

  • George Sharpe

    November 2, 2021 at 10:51 pm

    I’m tired of bullcrap propaganda pieces like this. They have to make a living off of Trump. It’s their lifeblood in their journal pieces. It probably was rigged and its sad because it might not of been but the integrity of voting is so destroyed we won’t get faith back anytime soon in our elections. I wanted Mutz out back in 2020 after choices he made.

    • Really Real Patriot

      November 3, 2021 at 12:50 am

      I’m just tired of winning by loosing. It probably was rigged like everything that does not show the score that we want. Real patriots know that we only win for real even when we loose we win, even if it was rigged, we win, we win even when we say it was rigged, we also win at saying it was rigged. Trust in the plan, winning by loosing and loosing by winning even when it’s rigged in our favor.

Comments are closed.


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