The Florida Democratic Party endorsed three candidates in Orlando’s upcoming nonpartisan municipal elections, all incumbents. While the political endorsements are not surprising, they have upset other candidates and voters around the city. One mayoral candidate said the endorsement and involvement of Florida Democrats “hurts the integrity of the city’s nonpartisan election policy for its Mayor and Commissioners.”
If you are an Orlando voter, than you probably noticed how much money Mayor Buddy Dyer is spending on a mail campaign – but those mailers are actually being put out by the Florida Democratic Party as a campaign tactic. In the political disclaimer, the Florida Democratic Party endorses Buddy Dyer in the nonpartisan race for Mayor, Patty Sheehan in the nonpartisan race for District 4 Commissioner, and Bakari Burns in the race for nonpartisan District 6 Commissioner.
“It hurts the integrity of the city’s nonpartisan election policy for its Mayor and Commissioners,” said former City Commissioner Samuel B. Ings, who is running against Mayor Dyer. “But this is what I expect from my opponent who lacks transparency who is more about serving the party than the people.”
Ings served as the past President of the Democratic Municipal Officials Florida Chapter, but said he did not ask the Florida Democratic Party to endorse his candidacy for Mayor because it is a nonpartisan race. He said while Mayor Dyer plays party politics to keep his political career going, the real focus should be the issues Dyer has ignored in Orlando. He’s hoping the real endorsement that matters will come from local voters.
“Times are hard,” Ings told West Orlando News. “People are looking for help with affordable housing, high rents, unemployment, homelessness, human trafficking and violent crimes. I expect the people, who are the voters in Orlando to endorse me with their votes. They see the decline in Orlando.”
It’s definitely not the first time the Florida Democratic Party jumped into Dyer’s campaigning. But by turning off different demographics and voters at the local level, it may explain one reason why Central Florida Democrats have not performed well enough to impact statewide elections and defeat Republicans in the elections that count. Meanwhile, the Orlando Democratic incumbents stay in their seats while the city problems persist, and no real challenge or discussion from the left.
Even though Democrat Dyer has been in office for two decades, the FDP mailers warn Orlando voters to “stand up to MAGA extremists!” A major push of the mailers was to get voters signed up for mail-in absentee voting. The Florida Democratic Party even used at least one deceased voter in a mail piece saying to “Stand Up and Vote” for Buddy Dyer. Despite the mail budget, it mocks the actual issues facing the City of Orlando.
“I am a leader who is not bossed or bought by the party,” Ings added. “Therefore, I will make decisions that will benefit Orlando residents regardless of party affiliation or
After all the Democratic Party involvement in the Orlando elections, the Orange GOP got in the game and made Republican recommendations for two mayoral candidates and one City Commissioner candidate.