These are my professional notes on the 2014 Orange County Mayor Race. Dated From most recent developments working back.
11-25-13: Nelson Betancourt has withdrew according the to the Orange County SOE website. Slide and tracker will be updated.
11-22-13: SHUTOUT of Jacobs event
I was invited to attend a Teresa Jacobs event this morning.
This was going to be a great opportunity to hear her early stump speech. A great chance to learn more about the campaign and what she intends to do to get reelected.
“Name!?” An over aggressive volunteer commanded.
It wasn’t on the list. I didn’t have a seat at a table. Any table. I was wait listed.
So, I stepped aside found a quiet corner and started to pretend like I was emailing/texting.
I was greeted by both Jacobs’ Campaign Manager and Husband. Both stand-up guys. Both unaware of what was going on.
The event was starting. People started filing in. 30 people left in the lobby. 15. 5. Finally just me. I was the most unimportant man at the venue. I heard applause from inside the banquet room. The event was starting. I was here, pretending to look like I belonged here.
Finally, a Friend on the team told me he was going to try and “place me”. Like an ugly painting from your Aunt, you hide behind a fern.
A man without a place in this cruel, cruel political world. I was literally the least important man invited to the event. Ok, that was a little melodramatic but, I was ticked. I declined and left.
Forget being wait listed. I’m a blogger who doesn’t make a lot of money and does eat a lot of ramen. I live on the wait list.
But this was a terrible, terrible waste of time.
I guess money talks and wait listed, super vocal, past supporters walk. Or stand.
I was bummed out, but it was 730 in the morning and the bars were closed (looking at you City Council). I kicked a stone and walked out to the old Amway Arena parking lot..paused and thought..”This never would have happened a Buddy Dyer event”. I realized that was also wrong. Defeated, I stepped into my automobile and drove off with the sunrise in front of me… along with 20 minutes of I4 traffic.
Anyways, I was asked to report that the event was well attended and successful.
The event was well attended and successful.
11-21-13: Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs held a fundraising breakfast at the Apopka VFW today according to photographs on social media.
11-20-13: Mayor Teresa Jacobs received the endorsement from Business Force today, a committee from the Orlando Chamber of Commerce. The Orlando Sentinel wrote an article about (you can read that HERE). It’s a good nod and will translate in strong fundraising but there aren’t anymore candidates and members of this board gave donations to Buddy Dyer last year before they even interviewed other candidates. Of course you take the endorsement, it’s just that this is the second election in a row where this board has acted questionably. I don’t know.
11-20-13: MLS in Orlando has become a reality. With construction beginning on a new stadium next year, it becomes an exciting talking point for Jacobs it also seals up the rest of the year for potential opponents. If a notable name were to jump in, they would be wise to wait for January.
11-17-13: The Sentinel ran a story about Jacobs supporter Rulon Munns, that story can read HERE
11-12-13: I did a Debate Camp post that heavily featured Mayor Jacobs. Required viewing for this race. You can read/watch it HERE.
11-8-13: Jacobs posted 4,375 in fundraising for the month. A small number but Jacobs didn’t fundraise this month (at least not publicly). There was also the Big MLS push that took the majority of her time. Let’s break down the numbers. 16 donations, 14 from inside the county. 8 donations $500 or more. 8 Small donations of $100 or less. No big names. She’s raised 332,556 with just over 300k still in the bank.
11-6-13: Ran across this interesting piece of video of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer endorsing Jacobs’ opponent in 2010. She could argue that she’s been that partner to Dyer at times despite their vastly different styles of Governing. FYI, Dyer is the only Mayor in the county not to endorse Jacobs.
11-6-13: Just imagining what a potential Jacobs opponent’s platform would have to look like to even try to convince the voters that a change is needed.
- Even though the story has come and gone, and Jacobs immediately took action to prevent it from happening again, “Textgate” is still the Ace of Spades in an opponent’s hand. Ala Rick Scott vs. Charlie Crist, an opponent could use “a friendly’s” soundbyte against her, like Precourt’s “There is a leadership Crisis” line concerning Jacobs and the Sick Time fight. Still, it’ stale now, how dried up would that avenue of attack be 10 months from now.
- An opponent would have to look for major setbacks or violations with the venues and call for an audit of spending over the projects. If contractors or private companies are abusing County Resources, that could also paint Jacobs as a reckless spender, even though Local Politicos know better.
- There is the whole West Orange School Issue mentioned in the note below this one.
- They would have to adopt the issues that Jacobs has done well and pledge to do them better, they would also have to ally with Democrats in other races like D2, D4, D6, and promise a bolder, anti-special interest group of lawmakers, that would serve all of the people.
- Getting LGBT, African-American, and Hispanic voters in their corner is a must. There is no path to victory without a firm majority of these groups. The potential opponent would have to pivot off of Jacobs’ slow movement in the Domestic Partnership Registry approval, failed economic growth of Paramore despite the Amway Center, and the absence of Puerto Ricans on the redistricting board.
11-6-13: Too much press coming from Rosalind Ave these days. Yesterday’s debate over whether a new High School should be built in the upscale Windermere neighborhood and the Commissions 6-1 vote against the measure, might puts Jacobs at odds with Superintendent Bill Sublette who wasn’t ruling out legal action (story HERE). This is the last fight Jacobs needs moving into an election year. However, you could argue that Windermere swings a bigger political stick than the enemies this could create throughout the rest of the county.
11-4-13: The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that Val Demings is still weighing her options and that a decision should be coming in the next two months (that story HERE). The Draft Val Demings page has also started running paid ads on FB to drum up support. Someone is spending some money.
10-30-13: The Draft Val Demings website has been active again after a long absence. If she did decide to run, you look at the windows of opportunity, I don’t see one until Late January and that was the same time Jacobs herself jumped into the race when she ran almost 4 years ago.
10-27-13: As we expected, the Venues deal passed this week. Now Jacobs has not only the normal powers of incumbency, but will have a presence in the whole inevitable MLS roll-out. Press Conferences, Events, and other prime photo ops. Big win for her this week and while Buddy Dyer may not formally endorse her, they held hands up in victory twice in the last month and a half. She might be too valuable for him at this point to root against. He’ll remain quiet throughout the campaign.
10-20-13: I expect Jacobs’ popularity to get a boost if this Venues project which includes the new Soccer Stadium gets approved. This will make it even more difficult for someone to mount a serious challenge against her. This is possibly the last big county decision before the end of the year, which makes the window even smaller.
10-14-13: Did a write-up on Jacobs’ fundraising haul, you can read that HERE. It was 55,380. A lot less than the over quarter mill she raised during her campaign kick-off but that could be because of a lack of a quality opponent.
Lets look at the reports.
No big political names jump off the page but there is a lot of big business. Usual suspects. Developers, Realtors, Attorneys. There a some Military Sim guys in there, which is a direction both Jacobs and Dyer want to go in. There are also some food service supporters who are probably happy Earned Sick Time was pushed back (even though Jacobs voted for the measure and was fined for text messages because of it).
204 Contributions. 78 for the maximum contributions of $500. 78 small donations of $100 or less. 188 from inside the county.
10-12-13: As local DEC changes take place, there is concern that there will be anyone serious to take on Jacobs. Right now, it makes no sense for someone to challenge her. Val Demings remains mum.
10-8-13: The Orlando Sentinel printed a post full of good campaign info (Read their story HERE). “I’m considering all of my options, and running for mayor is one of them,” Demings said. in the post. The story also mentions Jacobs’ Husband, Bruce (good guy btw) delivering campaign check worth 55,380 for a total of 328K. We’ll break those donations down when they are posted.
9-30-13: Jacobs sent out the final fundraising call for the quarter, pushing a new “juice up Orange County” message on her supporter emails. With no apparent opponents and over a quarter of a million dollars already raised Jacobs should have a large warchest to announce at the end of this period.
9-26-13: Jacobs secured the endorsement from the Police Benevolence Association (PBA) today. Making the window even smaller for opponents to jump in the race. There is a case to believe that this would make it harder for Val Demings should she jump in but her husband, Orange County Sheriff won his race without endorsements from his peers. Sentinel story HERE
9-22-13: There are some serious concerns from Orange Democrats that they’ll be able to field a candidate that can beat Jacobs. I spoke to some operatives yesterday, and they believe Local Dems are just better off pooling all of their resources into the probable Charlie Crist vs. Rick Scott match-up and preserving gains in the state house. The only known possible candidate, former Orlando Police Chief Val Demings missed a window with the “Textgate” fines coming down from the State Attorney. The “Draft Val” FB push has gone stagnant with no posts since July, and only 135 followers.
9-17-13: The Teresa for Mayor Issues FB poll results came back today. I did a full writeup on it HERE
9-13-13: Clumsy “Typical Teresa” negative campaign on Jacobs still continuing on social media. I say clumsy because they’re paying for ads now. They’re placing Democrat Buddy Dyer in all of the pictures with her on moves that were widely praised by the public. And finally, they’ve only got 37 likes after days of circulation. If there is an anti-Jacobs group out there, social media isn’t the way to reach them.
9-11-13: Jacob’s surveys are still seen FB. They have been sponsored recently which means the campaign is willing to pay a few dollars to get the opinion of the voters. Still no movement on the opponent front.
9-4-13: Jacobs’ team has been pushing the FB surveys trying to gauge which issue is most important to the voters. 3 posts today and a share from the OCYRs.
8-28-13: Today, the findings of the “textgate” investigation were released. Mayor Jacobs as well as Commissioners Boyd, Brummer, and Thompson were found to have broken the law when they deleted text messages during the County Sick Time Debate, even though the investigation revealed no evidence of nefarious behavior. They will all pay a 500 fine.
As far the election goes, it will be a smudge on Jacobs’ record but we’re still a year out. Any opponents of TS will have to spend money to keep this event on the mind of voters and a $500 dollar fine doesn’t scream scandal to causal voters. It’s all going to depend on TS opponent and how they craft their message.
Meanwhile, potential Jacobs opponent former Orlando Police Chief Val Demings was participating in an equality march in the UCF area. This creates a potential window for her to jump but there hasn’t been any speculation so far.
8-27-13: I gave an interview to the Orlando Sentinel about the Textgate Investigation findings that will be released tomorrow. I pointed out that despite the preventive measures TJ has taken since the story broke it could still hurt her campaign. That story is HERE
8-21-13: The Teresa for Mayor FB page took a survey over what issues voters felt were the most important. Participants were routed to the campaign page with an opportunity to join the mailing list.
8-20-13: Went to do a taping at CF News 13 for Political Connections. We touched on the Jacobs campaign and made early predictions. We talked about her early fundraising haul (275K) and both myself and my colleague picked her as the early favorite. Val Demings was brought up for a moment but everyone agreed she was unproven on the local campaign level. The show will air Sunday.
8-14-13: Went into CF News 13 today and briefly spoke about TJ early fundraising push and the election timetable moving up from cycle to cycle.
8-9-13: Very Surprised about TJ’s movement on the Soccer Stadium late this week. Thought she would stretch the process out longer and press for answers on the harder questions. From an elections stand point, her support of the Soccer Stadium just moved her a step closer to re-election. We all know Buddy Dyer was the only Mayor in Orange County who hasn’t formally endorsed her but that photo of their hands clasped and raised in victory was almost as good. Will probably right a full post on this today or tomorrow.
8-8-13: Just doing some light research on TJ campaign finances as of mid-July. Some simple observations.
Amount Raised 272, 301
Ranking among other candidates: 1st
Donations within Orange County: 124 outside of county 702 inside of Orange County
Donations with Developer or Land interests 125
Donations under 100 bucks= 122
Key Organizations Donating to the Campaign: Full Sail University, the Orlando Magic, Rosen Hotels, a Variety of Developers.
Findings: None of the findings on the finance report are out of place or unusual. There were a few Democrats which might irk some of the party loyalists in the county. Full Sail University really flexed their financial muscle with thousands in donations under various companies. You’ll recall Jacobs gave her State of the County there and has been promoting the WWE Training Center there. There are also a lot of Venue Advocates present on the report. Names that support The Performing Arts Center, the possible Magic Entertainment Complex, and Citrus Bowl renovations can be found. Don’t forget the hoteliers who greatly benefit from a successful Convention Center, the most valuable event location of them all with the greatest demonstration of benefit to the county.
There is some “love money” there from long time supporters and individuals. While the County’s power players are supporting the Mayor, there is still some of the “little people” contributing and that support should grow as Jacobs campaigns at smaller events throughout the county and gets a conversation going with voters who will likely contribute less than $100 each.
It’s still very early in the cycle but a strong start from the Mayor.
8-7-13: Got Followed by the “Typical Teresa” Twitter Account. An account created to slam the Mayor on Twitter. When I checked the account only had 7 followers. The Website has been up and down the last couple of weeks. When I checked it this time around it was up with a couple of youtube videos and the FB widget revealed 1 “Like”. HERE is the site.
7-31-13: Draft Val Demings Facebook Page Posts Orlando Sentinel Article regarding Full Sail Owners leading among Jacobs Donors article HERE. This was the first post on the page in almost 3 weeks. Current follower count stands at 132.
Introduction: The Orange County Mayor Race is certain to be one of the most high profile races of Central Florida. Mayor Teresa Jacobs at the time of this note has already declared her candidacy(WESH STORY HERE FPFT post HERE for re-election and has raised 276K dollars(FPFT Post HERE, OS Story HERE).
So far the opposition is at a minimum with only unknown candidates declaring. Nelson Betancourt,Dunel A. Cadely, Nathaniel Wren Glover are the candidates that have filed thus far. Other major names that have been rumored to run at one time or another have been State Rep. Stephen Precourt (who has ruled out running), and Orange County Commissioners Ted Edwards and Tiffany Moore-Russell.
The major name that local Democrats are waiting to hear from (Jacobs is a Republican) is former Orlando Police Chief Val Demings. Demings lost to Congressman Daniel Webster last year in CD 10 and is thinking about her next move. She is on the record with the Orlando Sentinel, stating through text message “I am strongly considering this race”. Supporters of Demings and opponents of Jacobs (mostly Orange County Sick Time Advocates) have been pushing her and even created a Draft Val Demings Facebook Page.
Regardless of her decision Jacobs would have the advantage against most opponents due to her incumbency, wide spectrum of support, and her early fundraising success. She’s also been endorsed by every municipal Mayor in Orange County except 1. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer who is holding out because of Party reasons and any future political plans he might have.