Literally, there are yard signs all along the streets in Delaney Park (see what I did there).
You have the winter-green, mouth wash themed, yard signs of our incumbent Mayor Dyer.
City Commissioner Phil Diamond’s well, diamond-shaped signs are currently outnumbering Dyer’s but, it’s early and both campaigns are rallying the troops for a big grassroots push in the coming weeks.
We also can’t forget long-time Dyer foe Ken Mulvaney and Activist Mike Cantone.
Buddy Dyer has been able to raise huge amounts of cash and even has a superpac called Moving Orlando Forward. A superpac for a municipal race? Yes, and he can put that money wherever he likes. He can even park it if he decides to run for Governor in 2014. And his donations are not confined to one political party. The Mayor has secured donations from both sides of the aisle. Democrats and Republicans, unions and private companies, local and out of area donors.
He’s also got all of the benefits of being an incumbent. City events double as campaign functions, he can point to All-Star weekend, Sunrail, and DPAC as highlights of his term (even if OC Mayor Teresa Jacobs had to put him in check over the finances). He’s even down to fighting weight, losing what seems like 40lbs doing yoga and other activities.
There is the homeless problem, and brightly colored parking meters to collect donations aren’t the answer. Still, he’s looking pretty strong.
City Commissioner Phil Diamond has been in an awkward position since he started running months ago. Running as the fiscally responsible alternative to Buddy Dyer, Diamond has had to distance himself from events celebrating projects where financial risk is involved. He’s done well fundraising and is running a decent grassroots campaign so far.
What Mike Cantone hasn’t deposited in the campaign account, he’s almost made up for with media coverage. Running as far left as you can without falling over, he’s set up joke websites, called out other city commissioners, and last year he even dressed up as a zombie to protest congressional policy.
Ken Mulvaney goes way back with Buddy Dyer. The lone Republican in the race lost to Dyer in 04′ and 08′. He’s a late entry but with his campaign experience, has gotten his operation up and running in a hurry. It’s a non-partisan race but, if you vote the party line, he’s your guy.
This is going to be a great race, I advised another candidate some time back. That campaign has since ended.
Orlando is a terrific city to campaign in. It’s a diverse community, and a politically savvy one. Economic development and responsible growth will be big issues along with others like public safety and services. The Orlando Sentinel will be holding a debate March 7th at UCF’s Metro Center. If you’re an Orlando voter, you should try to be there.