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Three Orlando city commissioners fight to keep their seats and fend off a slew of candidates in a contentious race

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Image: Stuart, Azam District 5, Orlandoweekly.com

If you haven’t been paying attention, next Tuesday is your last chance to vote in the general election for Orlando City Council races. And if you have been paying attention, then you know this melodramatic political tale that one candidate described as “the Jerry Springer” show is finally coming to an end.

Orlando Commissioners Jim Gray, Robert Stuart and Regina Hill are all up for re-election, and all have a cluster of competitors after their spots and $58,000 salaries, on the city’s top municipal board. In her first re-election bid, Hill, more than incumbents Stuart or Gray, faces the biggest challenge, going up against six other candidates for the district that goes from Parramore to MetroWest. All three incumbents have received the endorsement blessings of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, but that doesn’t mean this match is over.

The good news is that most candidates agree on what should be important to the city: affordable housing, public safety, access to transportation and good jobs, which all the more important with the influx of hurricane victims from Puerto Rico. The bad news is that, rather than debating policy, the commission races have turned into disputes over personalities and, at times, petty tit-for-tat disagreements.

Ultimately, though, you get the last word. Early voting ends Sunday, Nov. 5. The election will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 7. Check your registration and voting location at ocfelections.com. Happy voting!


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