We all know New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, right? If you don’t he’s the “big guy”, the outspoken leader of the Garden State.
For all of you that already know him, I want you to think Christie before “Bridgegate”. Let’s go back to 2012 and Superstorm Sandy.
Governor Christie’s constituents were hammered, beaten, and bruised by that massive storm that rocked the Northeast. When President Barack Obama arrived to tour the damage, Christie embraced the President, in a gesture that many Republicans believe hurt GOP Presidential nominee and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. The big guy said he didn’t care. He was putting constituents above politics.
Now, come back to Orange County. More specifically the Orange County Mayor’s Race that features incumbent Teresa Jacobs and former Orlando Police Chief Val Demings. And two more important community figures Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings. Both are in a position to help or hurt Mayor Jacobs in her reelection bid.
Sheriff Jerry Demings is Val Demings’ Husband. You probably already know that and he’s already said he will campaign for his wife, but his daily duties consists of working with Mayor Jacobs to protect the community, and the two frequently attend meetings and ceremonies together.
He’s won’t be able to work too well with Jacobs as his wife tries to defeat her. He would hurt her campaign. This means the Sheriff can give the Mayor zero praise in the coming months, and that conflict creates a rift between the two.
The Mayor and Sheriff Demings have done good work together. They’ve rallied around the families of fallen first responders and have been able to lower the crime rate by working together. After the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook, it was Demings and Jacobs that acted within hours to beef up security at local schools.
While Demings and Jacobs have always been strong allies in the community, it’s Jacobs’ relationship with her municipal counter-part, Buddy Dyer that has made real improvements in efforts to move the Orlando area forward.
Dyer campaigned for Jacobs’ opponent in 2010 but after she won, the two were stuck with each other and they both told the local media that they didn’t trust each other. That distrust would only be temporary as the two would work together on mutual goals.
It began with the work on the Citrus Bowl. The two were able to agree on the badly needed renovations, to the venue that’s the home of two nationally watched bowl games and other big events.
More recently, the two rallied the community together to bring MLS to Orlando. When Jacobs threw her support around the initiative that involved a new Soccer stadium, for a team 81% of the area supported, it convinced some of the fiscal hawks that the project was a good deal for the area. She knocked down the final obstacles for approval of the project. It was a team effort worthy of the world’s most popular game.
During her state of the county address, Jacobs called Mayor Dyer a “hero to the region”.
Those times might be finished. Buddy Dyer is the only Mayor in Orange County to not endorse Teresa Jacobs. He can’t. Demings’ supporters would go nuclear and it would hurt any future political plans he has. Think Christie and Obama on Orange Ave.
It’s unfortunate that the Mayor Race will hurt the relationship between those 3. It’s also an unfair disadvantage for Teresa Jacobs. Everyone wins when these three agencies work together, and to have politics create a divide is something the community doesn’t need.
After all, a hug, a handshake, a compliment, mean much more during an election year.