At least 7 qualify to run for Regina Hill’s Orlando City Council seat
Image via City of Orlando.

Orlando City Hall
Regina Hill’s seat. Erika Dunlap, Tyakeisha Ellison, Lawanna Gelzer, Cameron Hope, Travaris McCurdy, Miles Mulrain and Shaniqua 'Shan' Rose qualified.

Seven candidates have qualified to run for suspended Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill’s seat. Erika Dunlap, Tiakeysha Ellison, Lawanna Gelzer, Cameron Hope, Travaris McCurdy, Miles Mulrain and Shaniqua “Shan” Rose will all compete in the May 21 Special Election.

All of the candidates are longtime fixtures in Orlando politics.

Gelzer, a civil rights advocate, ran for office as recently as 2022, when she 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 city and county issues, focused particularly on police brutality.

Dunlap, who in 2003 became the first Black Miss Florida and went on to win Miss America, is the CEO of Crown Comm Group. She is a sought-after speaker on issues including self-care, etiquette, diversity and inclusion, and cultural competency.

Ellison, a business coach, announced her candidacy on Facebook and said she will focus on “entrepreneurship, education and economic development.”

Hope is a strategic manager and financial tax advisor at First Hope Financial, where he has been CEO since 2020. He also works as a marketing manager for Research Marketing Group, and is known for event promotion in Central Florida.

McCurdy, a former state Representative, also appeared on the ballot in recent years. He had won a single term in the Legislature unopposed in 2020, but in 2022 lost a Democratic Primary to now-Rep. Bruce Antone. That was also a close contest, with Antone besting McCurdy by just over 1 percentage point.

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.

Rose is the executive director for the Eatonville Community Redevelopment Agency.

Mulrain is an insurance professional, and is an activist who leads Black Orlando United and works with Equal Justice USA. He has been active in combating gun violence in the city and founded a community forum series called Let Your Voices Be Heard.

The candidates were the only ones listed as qualified as of a 5 p.m. deadline on Tuesday, though they were among 11 candidates to file for the seat since Mayor Buddy Dyer called the Special Election and the city set up a process.

Other candidates who previously filed included: Moliere Dimanche, Ricardo Griffin, Cocoa King and Toni Smith. The city website shows that King formally withdrew.

Hill was arrested in March on charges of elderly exploitation and fraud. She served on the Commission for 10 years but was charged with three counts of elderly exploitation of more than $50,000, one count of scheming to defraud of more than $50,000, one count of mortgage fraud of more than $100,000 and one count of fraudulent use of personal identification of more than $100,000.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement officers conducted a 13-month investigation into Hill, who is alleged to have taken advantage of a 96-year-old resident, drawing down $100,000 from her account for personal expenses.

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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