DeLaney will not seek third term on County Commission


Alachua County Commissioner Paula Delaney during a meeting on Oct. 4, 2011. On Wednesday Delaney announced that she will not seek re-election.

Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at 5:37 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at 7:22 p.m.

County Commissioner Paula DeLaney announced Wednesday that she will not seek re-election in November.

Also Wednesday, former County Commissioner Robert “Hutch” Hutchinson signed up to run for DeLaney’s District 3 seat.

Hutchinson, a Democrat, served from 1998 to 2002 and was a driving force behind the establishment of the county’s Alachua Forever land conservation program.

The current field of candidates for DeLaney’s seat includes two Republicans — Walt Boyer and former Alachua city commissioner Jean Calderwood — and Bryan C. “Buck” Buchanan, who is running without a party affiliation.

DeLaney said she gave strong consideration to running for a third term but ultimately decided that, after 20 years in office, she was “ready to move on.”

DeLaney served on the Gainesville City Commission from 1992 to 2001. She was elected to the County Commission in 2004 and won a second term in 2008.

“Twenty years ago this week, I jumped in the (Gainesville) City Commission race,” she said. “I was 39 then. I’m 59 now. … There comes a time when it’s time for some new folks to come on board and influence the process. Eight years is quite a bit of time.”

DeLaney is the second multiple-term Democrat to announce plans not a seek re-election. The other, former Commissioner Rodney Long, announced last summer he would not seek a fourth term in November 2012 and then resigned from office in December with almost a year remaining in his term.

That left a board of four members until the Governor’s Office appoints a replacement.

DeLaney, who currently serves as chairman, said she will complete her term and expects a “very challenging year” of budget decisions.

She said, at this point in time, she expects to remain involved in the community but has no plans to run for any other office.

“I have no plans right now at all,” DeLaney said. “There is nothing right now that I am looking at as far as political office.”

Reflecting on her time in office, she said city government often dealt with issues of infrastructure and urban redevelopment. County government, she said, did more to address the “human condition” through social service programs and the Office of Veterans Services.

DeLaney said that she will leave office proud of the fact that she took part in leaving the county with two “tournament quality” sports facilities. In 2010, county commissioners approved the use of tourism development tax monies to fund construction of the Nations Park youth baseball complex in Newberry. Late last year, commissioners awarded tourism development tax funds to the city of Alachua for the purchase of property for a sports complex expansion known as Project Legacy.

DeLaney’s announcement continues a shift in the make-up of the board that began in November 2010, when two-term Democratic incumbent Cynthia Chestnut was unseated by Susan Baird, the first Republican elected to the County Commission in more than two decades.

Then came Long’s resignation and now DeLaney’s announcement.

Three seats are up in November’s election and the only incumbent who may seek re-election is Democrat Mike Byerly. Byerly has not yet filed paperwork to begin campaigning.

Contact Christopher Curry at 374-5088 or chris.curry@gvillesun.com.

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