Horizon West residents have several important local races to vote in on August 18, the Primary Election in Florida. Local candidates have the biggest impact on our local, day-to-day life, so it’s important to pay close attention to each race.
Orange County Commissioner – District 1
The most influential race for Horizon West residents is that of our local commissioner on the Orange County Board of County Commissions. Residents who have questions about our county government or have inquiries into the growth of Horizon West may already be familiar with the incumbent, Betsy VanderLey. Voters should be aware of the master plan for Horizon West and read through the notes from the Horizon West Town Hall in 2019.
VanderLey is being challenged by Nicole Wilson, who entered the race due to VanderLey’s support of the Split Oak Forest Toll Road. The ballot is also open for a write-in candidate, Hannah Burns. The race is non-partisan, which means no candidate is affiliated with a political party. With 3 people in the race, the top 2 vote-getters will proceed to the General Election, or if a candidate earns over 50% of the vote, they will win outright.
Both candidates have come under scrutiny over the last several weeks. The Orlando Sentinel has written numerous sensational headlines against VanderLey but put the articles behind a pay-wall, making it difficult for residents to read about the claims. According to the Orange Observer, VanderLey has admitted to a clerical error regarding the disclosure of income and conflicts of interest, but always withheld voting when there was a conflict of interest. She has since filed amended documents with the updated information. Steven Meyers, who is working on the campaign for Nicole Wilson, has filed an ethics complaint against VanderLey. Also reported in the Orange Observer, finance concerns were raised against Nicole Wilson’s campaign, in which she shared a dual-message sign with the Right to Clean Water PAC, and it is claimed that it is unclear how much her campaign paid for the sign.
Candidates (Orange Observer has not conducted Q&As):
- Betsy VanderLey
- Nicole Wilson
- Hannah Burns (write-in)
Orange County Property Appraiser
The controversial incumbent Rick Singh is up against several opponents in the race for Property Appraiser. The Property Appraiser has been sued by local businesses, such as Walt Disney World, for increasing valuations too high, and the office was under criminal investigation but recently cleared of charges.
In the Democratic primary, Singh is being challenged by Amy Mercado and Khalid Muneer. There are no Republicans running. The winner of the Democratic Primary will defacto win the race, as they will face off in the General Election against two write in candidates, Scott Boyd and Tim Loucks. Since they are write-in candidates, their names will not appear on the ballot.
Candidates (links to Orange Observer Q&As):
Orange County Sheriff
Sheriff John Mina faces stiff opposition during the Democrat primary for sheriff. Mina ran as an Independent two years ago and now faces low morale from his Deputies, who withdrew their endorsement of him.
Mina is opposed in the Democrat Primary by Andrew Darling, Jose “Joe” Lopez, Eric McIntyre, and Darryl Shepard. There are no Republicans running. Two write-in candidates will be options during the General Election, Tim Adams and Winston Johnson. The winner of the Democrat Primary will defacto win the race, as they will face off in the General Election against two write-in candidates, which their names will not appear on the ballot.
Candidates (links to Orange Observer Q&As):
Orange County School Board, District 4
Incumbent Pam Gould is facing two opponents in the non-partisan race for School Board. Over-crowding remains a significant issue for schools in Horizon West, however new schools are being accelerated to provide relief several years ahead of schedule as Pam Gould and Betsy VanderLey have worked together on the issue.
Gould is opposed by Prince Brown and Dayna Gaut in the Primary Election. The top 2 candidates will proceed to the General Election, unless a candidate receives greater than 50% of the vote, in which they win outright.
Information on voting in our upcoming elections is available at OCFElections.com.
If you receive a public hearing notice or zoning change request in the mail, please share it in the Horizon West Development Discussion Group.