Lowe, Braddy in runoff for mayor

Mayoral candidate Ed Braddy will face Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe in a run-off election in April.

Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 2:42 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 2:42 p.m.

Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe and Ed Braddy will meet in a run-off election on April 16 to decide who will become the next mayor of Gainesville as incumbent District 4 Gainesville city Commissioner Randy Wells is re-elected Tuesday to another term in office in the 2013 city of Gainesville election.

Voters also chose not to change the Gainesville election schedule and to keep terms on the City Commission to three years. There were 6,438 votes, or 56.36 percent, against changing the charter, and 4,986 votes, or 43.64 percent, for changing the charter.

The runoff for mayor is being held because none of the six candidates garnered a majority of the votes in the election, which had a 14.92 percent turnout.

Braddy received 4,636 votes, or 38.43 percent, and Lowe received 4,406 votes, or 36.52 percent. The rest of the votes in the mayoral race rounded out with former District 1 commissioner Scherwin Henry receiving 2,058 votes, or 17.06 percent; Pete Johnson, a local entrepreneur, 783 votes, or 6.49 percent; Mark Venzke, also an entrepreneur, 128 votes, or 1.06 percent, and Donald Shepherd Sr., a former University of Florida employee, 53 votes, or 0.44 percent.

Wells, who pledged to work hard to see more investment in the local economy and neighborhoods while on the campaign trail, was returned to the District 4 seat on the commission by capturing 1,115 votes, or 55.63 percent. He defeated W.E. "Mac" McEachern, a former city commissioner, and Alfredo Espinosa, who received 545 votes, or 26.12 percent. McEachern received 419 votes, or 20.15 percent.

District 4 is comprised of the area between SW 13th and 34th streets, SW Williston Road and W. University Avenue, a small part of northwest Gainesville and a portion of east Gainesville bounded by E. University and NE 16th avenues and N. Main Street and NE Waldo Road.

Lowe and Braddy, who said they are going to continue working hard on the campaign trail, both talked about what is going to be the key to winning the run-off election.

"I still see myself as the underdog here," said Braddy, "and what has gotten us this far is a good group of volunteers from all different backgrounds who have worked tirelessly for this campaign," he said. "We have the one message out there, and that is we're fighting to make Gainesville affordable to live in. This is a great city with great people, but with some of the decisions made by City Hall, it is just becoming increasingly difficult to live here, work here and raise a family here."

Standing outside of his campaign headquarters in downtown Gainesville, Lowe said voters will have two distinct candidates to choose between in the run-off election.

"I think the key is the fact that we have two very distinct sets of positions on the issues, and I'm the candidate that has a clear vision that will secure Gainesville's future for economic development, based upon a sound foundation of quality of life, which includes protecting our neighborhoods and environment, making sure everyone in Gainesville is treated equally and fairly, as well as developing a sound transportation infrastructure."

Pam Carpenter, Alachua County supervisor of elections, said it is hard to predict what kind of turnout there will be in the run-off election.

"We normally get a similar turnout as what we saw in the original election, or a drop off, although there was a mayoral election where there was actually a bigger turnout for the run-off than there was for the regular election," Carpenter said. "We'll just have to wait and see."

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