A night etched in history, Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill won re-election with 50.24% of the vote. This race brought 6 opponents attempting to replace Hill on the Orlando City Commission, but through the bottleneck of challengers, Hill’s closest opponent garnered just over 560 votes. That wasn’t enough to push the race to a runoff; an outcome many of the candidates hoped to see.
It was Hill’s night, though. She made her way through a cavalcade of opponents and managed to win the evening’s biggest race.
No other incumbent fought off as many challengers and did so with less money. Hill raised just $51,230.17. That’s significant because it shows that Hill’s appeal is still community-based and hasn’t reached too far outward.
Hill attained over 1,100 votes on her way to re-election and did so by fighting off allegations of alcohol abuse and illicit social behavior.
She vowed to continue to work on behalf of district’s residents and not get distracted. Her message worked as the voters of District 5 placed her back in office.
As for the remainder of Hill’s challenger’s, former Miss America Ericka Dunlap came in second with 564 votes. Dunlap raised $34,000 in her bid to replace Hill.
After Dunlap came Cynthia Harris. This was her second time running for commissioner of District 5, and just as she did in 2014, she came in third place. Harris attained 167 votes and raised $6,557.
Tying Harris was newcomer Sarah Elbadri. Formerly executive director of SoDo (South Downtown), Elbadri performed well and surprised many with her performance. She got 167 votes and raised just over $10,000.
Elbadri is impressive and is sure to run again in the future. She’s intelligent, has a firm grasp on the issues and matters of the city, and proved that she can raise enough money to be competitive.
She hasn’t been in Orlando that long and still beat a few lifelong residents, proving that hard work and an understanding of how city government works goes a long way.
After Elbadri comes Jibreel Ali. Ali had a disappointing showing as he received 6.66% of the vote. He raised a total of $8,754 and didn’t do enough to reach the voters of the district.
Ali’s showing was disheartening because he has such a strong political background in his family. His grandmother is famed Commissioner Mable Butler, and his mother-in-law is Orange County School Board Member Kat Gordon.
With that lineage, Ali couldn’t capitalize and ended up battling to stay out of last place.
Behind Ali were two candidates who proved to be inconsequential. Betty Gelzer received just 79 votes, and Ondria James didn’t get enough votes to count on two hands. She received six votes, and one likely came from her own household.
Gelzer raised over $20,000 and couldn’t pull 100 votes.
But this night belonged to Hill. As she prepares to begin her second term next year, Hill said she’ll keep focusing on affordable housing and assisting the residents of District 5.
Along with that, Hill should take the advice of others and limit her social activity and social media presence.
That doesn’t matter at the moment, though. Hill can now lay claim to being a two-time commissioner for the City of Orlando.