Zembower wins GOP Seminole commission primary; second round for mayoral race in Sanford–Orlando Sentinel

Seminole Commissioner Jay Zembower resisted a challenge from political newcomer Brittany Walker to win the Republican primary on Tuesday. He won just over 58% of the votes cast with all of the county’s 82 constituencies.

In Sanford – Seminole’s largest city – Mayor Art Woodruff and his challenger Charles Davis were heading for a runoff election on November 8 after none of the candidates received more than 50% of the votes cast.

Zembower will face Democrat and wildlife activist Katrina Shadix in November’s general election for the District 2 commission seat.

“Seminole County voters are much wiser than people think,” Zembower said as he celebrated his victory in Winter Springs.

Walker, owner of Eques Consulting, filed a lawsuit against Zembower earlier this year as it opposed Seminole’s emergency ordinances enacted in March 2020 to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus by limiting capacity public buildings and requiring business customers to stay at least 6 feet away.

Walker called the mandates unnecessary and “authoritarian government” actions that hurt businesses financially.

But Zembower, who was chairman of the commission at the time, countered that Seminole was following Florida’s lead and guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the state saw a surge in cases and deaths. of COVID-19. He also noted that Governor Ron DeSantis issued a stay-at-home order in April 2020 that directed residents to limit contact with others.

Walker, in his campaign, also raised concerns about the growing number of commission-approved apartments and other forms of high-density rental housing. Zembower, who was first elected in 2018, said many of these developments are approved in areas designated by the county as urban and an effort to provide affordable housing.

Seminole commissioners serve four-year terms and are elected countywide. They must live in their neighborhood. Seminole District 2 extends approximately from the county center to the Brevard County line. It includes the communities of Geneva, Winter Springs and parts of Sanford and Longwood.

Because Shadix is ​​the only Democrat in the District 2 race, she did not face an opponent in Tuesday’s primary.

In Seminole’s political contest for the District 4 commission seat, Republican Amy Lockhart will face Lake Mary resident Patricia Smith, who is running without party affiliation, in the November general election.

In Sanford, the mayoral race has been dominated by issues of controlling the city’s rapid growth and downtown parking. Woodruff received nearly 48% of the votes cast; Davis, who owns an insurance business, received nearly 32% of the vote. Challengers Chan Robinson received nearly 17% and Christopher d’Hedouville just over 3%.

Woodruff was named mayor in 2020 by the city commission after Jeff Triplett resigned to run as a Seminole real estate appraiser.

Portrait of Sanford Mayor Art Woodruff on the river walk around Lake Monroe in Sanford, Florida on Wednesday, November 10, 2021.

Davis is also the chairman of the Sanford Community Redevelopment District.

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In the race for the city’s District 1 commission, incumbent Sheena Rena Britton was heading for another term after receiving more than 57% of the votes cast. His challenger Christina Hollerbach collected nearly 43% of the vote.

Britton was nominated to fill the District 1 commission seat in 2020 after Woodruff was named mayor. The district covers most of downtown and extends to neighborhoods near Orlando Sanford International Airport.

Charles Davis is running for mayor of Sanford.  (Courtesy)

In the contest for the District 2 commission seat, incumbent Kerry Wiggins was also elected to another term after receiving 57% of the vote. His challenger, Mario Hicks, collected 43%. Wiggins was first elected in 2018.

District 2 covers most of the historic black neighborhood of Goldsboro.

The mayor and commissioners of Sanford serve four-year terms. The mayor is elected citywide and the commissioners are elected from their districts.

Top issues among candidates vying for mayor and commission seats were planning for Sanford’s future growth, dealing with the challenges of an increasingly popular downtown neighborhood and parking lot.

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Aurora J. William