2018 Orange County Race For Mayor Update


As the weather continues to change and Florida gets colder, the race for Orange County mayor is getting warmer and more interesting.


Orange County Commissioner Pete Clarke and had a decent showing as did Orange County School Board Chair Bill Sublette.

The sheriff has been criticized for failing to raise enough money to keep other candidates away but has shown recent determination to fill his campaign coffers with enough cash to show that he’s no lightweight.


Demings raised an  $109,191 for his campaign account and nothing is posted yet for his political committee. He was able to corral a number of $1,000 contributions from varied businesses and individuals. Likely keeping his eye on Rob Panepinto’s campaign, Demings’ has raised over $300,000 for his campaign.  Speaking of Panepinto, he raised $34,100 in November and another $16,000 for his political action committee. Panepinto has $291,000 so far in his campaign account and Pac . Demings and Panepinto are neck and neck on fundraising. Demings entered the race 90 days before the other candidates.

Commissioner Pete Clarke is trying to keep pace. He raised $10,050 to bring his total raised to $19,351. Clarke’s campaign donations aren’t as vast Demings and Panepinto, and obviously, he isn’t pulling in the same amount of money.


One has to wonder that if Clarke isn’t able to keep pace with the two frontrunners if he’ll change his mind before qualifying ends in June of 2018.


Is Clarke’s slow but steady approach enough to be competitive?


Then there’s Bill Sublette, the attorney turned legislator turned school board chair. Sublette said that he wants to continue the legacy of current Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, and also wants to find a dedicated funding source for Lynx.


With all of that, Sublette raised just a little over $18,050 in November. He had a number of contributions of $1,000 with just one coming in at less than $100.


Like Clarke, he’s going to have to keep pace with Demings and Panepinto. And if Sublette’s fundraising dries up early, there’s a thought that he may drop his bid for mayor and return back to the school board.

If so, the race turns into a three-man sledding competition with two out in front. Clarke still has time, and so does Sublette, but fundraising months with less than 20K raised isn’t likely to get the job done.

The publisher of the Orlando Political Observer, Douglas J Kaplan, is Panepinto’s brother.


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