by Joe Courter
So what can be said about the Mayor’s race in Gainesville? Disappointing, heck yeah, but not a surprise.
Through the culmination of many factors, Craig Lowe was a very much weakened candidate, quite sad and tragic in some ways, but self-inflicted in others. Ed Braddy, on the other hand, was able to capitalize on all the anti-biomass fervor to build a motivated coalition, use his own talents as a public speaker and sound bite artist, and utilize a backlash against Lowe to score a win.
But that win was an interesting split, with the eastern districts (1 & 4) going for Lowe and the west (2 & 3) for Braddy.
For progressive-minded folks, this is significant because District 3 is Susan Bottcher’s district, and she will be up for re-election in the next cycle, along with Todd Chase (conservative NW district 2), and then an at-large open race as Thomas Hawkins is term-limited.
The balance of power hasn’t shifted yet; it’s still Gainesville and not Braddyville, but it ought to be a wake-up call to progressive-minded folks. And with Braddy as Mayor, there will be a very interesting new dynamic to the meetings; he’s smart, both quick-witted and abrasive, and a committed libertarian free-marketeer. It will be a challenging situation for all involved.
There is also a nasty situation due to a perceived slight within some in the African-American community and allies over a ham-handed large donation that came into Craig Lowe’s campaign from the Florida Democratic Party during the late stage of the primary while fellow Democrat Scherwin Henry was still in the race, followed by another controversy over a Democratic Black Caucus decision to work for Republican Braddy over Lowe, which has also caused bad blood within the local Democratic Party.
As Will Rogers said, “I belong to no organized party, I’m a Democrat.”