Lawanna Gelzer, Travaris McCurdy file for Orlando Special Election

travaris mccurdy Lawanna Gelzer
Other candidates have until April 16 to file and qualify.

Within 24 hours of a Special Election being called in Orlando, two familiar faces have filed for a City Council race.

Lawanna Gelzer, a former County Commission candidate, and Travaris McCurdy, a former Representative, both filed for the open District 5 City Commission seat. Candidates have until April 16 at 5 p.m. to qualify.

An election will be held on May 21 to decide who will fill out the remainder of suspended City Commissioner Regina Hill’s term. Gov. Ron DeSantis last week suspended Hill following the Commissioner’s arrest on charges of elderly exploitation and fraud.

Gelzer narrowly lost an Orange County Commission race to Michael Scott by 656 votes out of more than 33,000 cast.

She has remained active in the community as a civil rights activist, focused particularly on issues involving police brutality.

McCurdy, meanwhile, served a term in the House but in 2022 lost a Democratic Primary to now-Rep. Bruce Antone. That was also a close contest, with Antone besting McCurdy just over 1 percentage point.

McCurdy had won his first term in the Legislature unopposed but drew a number of challengers as he sought re-election. During his term in the House, he helped lead a sit-in protest on the floor against approval of a congressional map proposed by DeSantis.

Several other candidates told the Orlando Sentinel that they will likely run for the seat, including Rich Black, Miles Mulrain and Shan Rose.

Orlando’s city charter does call for a runoff if no candidate wins a majority in a first election. If necessary, the runoff will take place on May 13.

If Hill successfully fights off prosecution for her charges, she will return to office before the end of her term.

The election takes place only in District 5, which covers neighborhoods such as Parramore, Rock Lake, Ivey Lane and the Mercy Drive corridor.

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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