In just 19 months, current Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs will leave office and this county will swear in a new mayor. Rick Singh, Orange County Property Appraiser, is still mulling a decision and hasn’t made up his mind. But could he be next in line to lead after Jacobs’ term is over?
In a recent discussion, Singh commented: As a public servant, I am humbled at the grassroots support. Everywhere I go – grocery store, gas station, restaurant – I get asked, ‘Hey Rick, are you running for Mayor?’ I serve at the will of the people, and while my paramount focus is being the best PA and doing the best job possible for the people, I want to do as much good as I can for as many people as I can.
On Facebook, there is a Page titled “Draft Rick Singh for Mayor” that has garnered over 10,000 Likes and continues to grow. Other Pages of the same kind aren’t gathering as much attention or support; something that proves that Singh has a serious social media following.
Ed Conrad, a local Republican, likes what Singh’s brings to the table.
“I am a 74-year old registered Republican, and I have watched Rick for years. I would support him with whatever he decides to do, and he would make an amazing mayor. He would be a very attractive candidate to business-minded Republicans like me.”
During his re-election campaign for Property Appraiser last year, Singh raised an impressive $515,000, the most of any elected county official and a historical high for a constitutional officer. He also beat his opponent by garnering over 60 percent of the vote.
Singh received his share of backlash while the campaign was going on, though.
There was an egregious amount of negative media and mailers directed towards Singh – one even comparing him to Donald Trump. Singh was the target of an innumerable amount of dark money, funds that came from unverified sources.
Commercials ran morning, noon, and night in an attempt to smear Singh’s name.
Through that firestorm of turmoil and negativity, Singh still emerged victorious and seems to be stronger because of it.
Last month, the Associated Press featured a story on Singh and his fight with Disney over the conglomerate’s property taxes. Disney believes that they are being unfairly targeted while Singh states that he’s just playing it fair, that when every entity pays its fair share, everyone pays less.
The story was picked up by national and international media outlets. Singh was even interviewed on media stations because of it. Standing up to big corporations isn’t a soft story, and it takes a lot of political courage to fight with Disney.
But the one politician with the will to do so is the county’s property appraiser, Rick Singh.
As growth continues to paint the county, infrastructure projects slow traffic, and arts and sports projects expand, Orange County will need a visionary leader to guide the county forward. Is Rick Singh that leader?
Orange County will be facing a few road blocks along the way. Orlando is known for what it offers tourists, but crime around the area is starting to make national headlines. The retail bubble is popping and that will mean thousands of low-wage earners will be out of work and there will be plenty of empty buildings and shopping centers. How will the county fill in those blanks and stop crime from scaring away residents and tourists?
Having vision to see the county through these potential choppy waters is crucial, but we’ll also need someone with the guts to take risks. Singh has shown that he’s that type of leader.
Singh has stated previously that he’s unsure of when he will make a decision on a run for mayor as qualifying is over a year away. A source close to Singh states that he has 500k in a political action committee, should he decide to run. If that’s true, that’s puts him at a tremendous advantage.
Doug Head, chair of the government watchdog group County Watch, says that Singh would be one of the strongest Democrats in years to run for county mayor.
“He’s hugely qualified to deal with the most pressing issues facing our community.”
But with a Facebook Page that has gathered an impressive 10,000 Likes and many residents asking him to run, it seems as if Singh may be forced into a decision soon. His State of Orange County Real Estate events have attracted thousands over the years and seem to be growing in popularity. The most recent one last month turned out an impressive collection of business leaders, developers, real estate professionals, politicians, and more.
This proves that the decisions he’s made since entering office have benefited Republicans and Democrats as they both show up to the popular State of Real Estate events.
Likely driving belief that he’s going to run for mayor, Singh is rumored to be in the planning stages of another State of Real Estate before the year is out that may draw over 1,500 people. For context, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs’ State of the County earlier this month was well attended, but the crowd was sparse compared to Singh’s event.
Yet until he makes his mind-up, speculation will continue to swirl if Singh will make the leap. After all, he is one of the most popular politicians in Orange County.
Written With Melissa M.