Winter Garden City Commission: Runoff expected between Iliana Jones, Ron Mueller; voters elect Chloe Johnson
Winter Garden City Hall, via City of Winter Garden Facebook.

Winter Garden
Voters weighed in on 2 seats on the Winter Garden City Commission.

Winter Garden voters elected newcomer Chloe Johnson to a District 3 seat on the City Commission. But incumbent City Commissioner Ron Mueller faces a runoff with Iliana Jones for his District 2 spot. 

In District 2, Jones, a local business owner, was the top vote-getter and received more than 48% of the vote, based on unofficial final election results. Mueller was almost 42%. DJ Culberson Jr., who works in hospitality, received just over 10% of the vote and was eliminated.

Mueller, a Navy veteran, ran on a record he says shows serious engagement and transparency. Culberson touted that he had no ties to developers, and Jones promised a commitment to public safety and small-town charm.

A runoff is scheduled for April 16.

In District 3, Johnson, a member of the Community Redevelopment Agency Advisory Board, faced Karen McNeil, President of Fresh State Entrepreneurs. The two were vying for an open seat on the Commission.

Johnson dominated her contest, receiving more than 68% of the vote to McNeil’s under 32%.

Johnson’s win meant a victory for the local GOP in a blue county. Orange County Republican Chair Erin Huntley cheered the victory.

“During these local elections, voters emphatically endorsed common-sense Republican candidates, propelling conservative, community-focused leaders into multiple elected positions across Orange County,” she said.

Meanwhile, Orange County Democratic Party Chair Samuel Vilchez Santiago congratulated Mueller, a Democrat, for advancing to a runoff, and noted the Presidential Preference Primary appeared to draw a disproportionate number of Republican voters to the polls. The party will support Mueller in the runoff.

“We are thrilled to see such outstanding Democratic candidates elected to key municipal seats across Orange County. Their victories demonstrate the strength and resilience of the Democratic Party in our region and reaffirm our collective commitment to building a more inclusive and prosperous future for all residents,” Santiago said.

Evan Power, chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, also cheered Johnson’s victory in the District 3 race as one sign of the GOP’s growing strength statewide.

“I’d like to congratulate all of our Republican candidates on their victories this evening,” said Chairman Evan Power. “From Delray Beach to Clearwater and from Winter Garden to Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, the Florida GOP remains committed to electing Republicans up and down the ballot-in every corner of the state.”

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].


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