With three candidates campaigning for Orlando’s District 6 City Commissioner position, no one was able to capture more than 50% of the vote and the race is now headed to a runoff. Bakari Burns, who linked himself to incumbent Mayor Buddy Dyer, was able to edge out former State Senator Gary Siplin in the first round of voting. Community leader and local champion Lawanna Gelzer came in third and now may play an important role getting one candidate the votes needed to win a runoff.
There were only 3,336 total votes cast for District 6 City Commissioner. There are 25,278 registered voters in the district. Burns, who runs non-profit healthcare clinics locally, garnered 1,532 votes or 46% of the vote. Siplin received 1,316 votes or 39.5%. Siplin led with absentee voting, and Burns was able to take the lead with Election Day turnout.
Gelzer’s 15% of the vote could tip either candidate over the edge. She had labeled Burns a rubber stamp of Dyer after the candidate totally embraced all things Dyer. It’s hard to argue that Burns would take on the incumbent’s divisive policies. In fact, Burns has cut deals with Dyer before and gone against the community in favor of City Hall. It will now be interesting to see how Burns will navigate the runoff. With Siplin being a political veteran, neither candidate can count on anything at this point.
The runoff election will be December 3rd.