Three challengers are vying to unseat longtime Leon County Commissioner Nick Maddox in the at large Aug. 23 Primary Election.
Maddox has served on the Commission, for which he is now Vice Chair, since 2010. The former Florida State football and NFL player is facing local pastor Rudy Ferguson, Godby High School teacher Josh Johnson, and Dominique “Nikki” Zumbo.
He supported the $27 million Blueprint allocation to repair FSU’s Doak Campbell Stadium. He said local political operative Max Herrle sent a racist text during the meeting, calling Maddox a “dumb little bastard.”
Maddox, who was accused of sexual harassment during his time as Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of the Big Bend, has been endorsed by the Tallahassee Professional Firefighters Union and Grow Tallahassee.
Ferguson, who is Chairman of the Tallahassee Police Department’s Citizens Advisory Council, has been critical of the incumbent’s support of the Blueprint deal.
“That message was clear to me that he was not listening to the taxpayers of Leon County, and it was time to replace a politician with a servant leader,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson said poverty is one of the greatest issues Leon County faces right now and that, if elected, he will work to increase income and create affordable, quality housing. The pastor has been endorsed by retired Leon County Sheriff Eddie Boone, the Tallahassee Ministerial Alliance and former NFL player Corey Fuller.
Johnson also said the Blueprint giveaway factored in his decision to run.
“The state of discourse and the public being repeatedly ignored on big policy issues absolutely necessitated good new candidates to enter this race,” Johnson said, adding that his biggest priority is “getting our county back on track from decades-plus of malfeasance and misappropriation of Leon taxpayers’ money and decision-making authority.”
Zumbo, a Florida State University graduate, explained that she made a “tough decision” early on to not seek fundraising for her campaign. She argued residents who come to the area have “little incentive” to stay.
“Most of our economy is built on transient residents,” Zumbo said. “When they leave, so does our economy. We need to start making Tallahassee not just the ideal town for education, but for the many joys after the fact as well as improve the quality of life of the constituents that call this place their hometown.”
If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote in the Primary, it will go to a runoff in the General Election on Nov. 8.