Winter Park voters to decide between Craig Russell, Jason Johnson

russell johnson winter park

Voters in Winter Park have one more decision to make at the ballot.

A runoff on Tuesday decides if Craig Russel or Jason Johnson will fill out incoming Mayor Sheila DeCiccio’s City Commission term.

DeCiccio has to resign from her seat to run for Mayor, a job she won last month. The same night, voters advanced Russell, a coach at Winter Park High School, and Johnson, a local attorney, over Stockton Reeves for Seat 2 on the Commission.

For the Orange County Democratic Party, the outcome in March already delivered them a victory in the community. Reeves was the only Republican in the race and Russell and Johnson are both Democrats.

But the candidates have continued to try and differentiate themselves in front of voters.

Russell, the top vote-getter in March with 42%, ran with the support of the local Chamber of Commerce. In addition to his role at the local high school, Russel and wife Kate Demory in 2019 founde the Army of Angels, a local nonprofit focused on helping at-risk youth succeed in school and graduate.

Johnson has run on a preservationist campaign. He sits now on the Winter Park Board of Adjustments, where he was just re-elected as Chairman, and he has been involved in local nonprofits including Special Olympics Florida and has served as a student mentor at the public schools and the FAMU College of Law.

His campaign has focused chiefly on preventing development from destroying the city’s character.

“I will preserve the charm that makes Winter Park one of the best places in America to live and visit,” he said on his website.

Russell, meanwhile, has focused on the need for workforce housing. He calls on his website for “ensuring our teachers and police officers can afford to live here.” He also wants better city infrastructure. He advocates “promoting smart, residents-first growth.”

The runoff takes place on Tuesday, April 16. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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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