Randy Ross to challenge Patty Sheehan for Orlando Council seat
Randy Ross throws his hat in the ring.

Randy Ross ART
He ran and lost to Sheehan in 2015.

Conservative active Randy Ross announced he’s running for Orlando City Council. He will challenge six-term incumbent Commissioner Patty Sheehan.

“The Orlando City Council needs to stop trying to San Francisco our Orlando,” Ross said.

He will host a campaign kickoff on Aug. 1 at Graffiti Junktion.

Sheehan is most notable as the first openly gay official elected to office in Florida. She first won her seat on the Orlando City Commission in 2000. She has faced Ross before, most recently in 2015, when she won re-election with almost 69% of the vote to Ross’ 20% and Aretha Olivarez’s 11%.

Ross, an openly gay man, has been active for years in Republican politics, including serving as Orange County chair of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016.

Sheehan for her part said she did not fear a rematch with Ross.

“He’s Orlando’s George Santos,” she said. “He’s even taken a page from the Santos page book and said he has no money but loaned himself $10,000. But I beat him in the past. I don’t think a gay Republican is going to win in this district, especially one who is running against progressive Orlando.”

Ross has loaned his campaign $10,000 according to his first financial report, and collected $1,000 from a single donor, Aubrey Kahn. Ross brushed off the Santos comparison.

“Coming from a six-term Commissioner who mocks Jesus during Easter — ‘He is woke’ — plus her involvement in the Pulse healing by inhibiting closure for the community,” Ross said.

“I look forward to sharing the changes we need in District 4, not her opinionated characterization of me. My 30+-year residency has a lot to do with the struggles I have observed and been an activist for, firsthand, in the areas of Senior care, domestic abuse, Title 1 Schools and other initiatives.  The complacency and lack of focus on the residents of District 4 is apparent and my focus.”

Sheehan to date has raised upward of $31,000.

Katie Koch has also filed for the seat.

Ross said he will run on a platform of seeking term limits for city officials, increasing first responder response times.

“The City I love and felt safe in is fading,” Ross said. “We can save Orlando with new inspired leadership improving our City Beautiful for generations to come. Enough of the tent cities, enough of the crime, enough of the complacency.”

Ross last year ran for Florida House in House District 39, an open seat at the time. He ultimately lost in the Republican Primary to then-Apopka City Commissioner Doug Bankson, who went on to defeat Democrat Tiffany Hughes and win the seat.

He for years led a faction in the Orange County Republican Party at odds with longtime leader Charles Hart, who also ran in HD 39 last year.

The election is scheduled for Nov. 7, with a runoff on Dec. 5 if necessary.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].

One comment

  • Not gonna happen

    July 12, 2023 at 1:14 am

    Did he finally find the missing lawn furniture?

Comments are closed.


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