Mayor Pat Bates ran on her strong economic record while fending off underhanded GOP special interests attacks to capture over50-percent of the vote last night. Ultimately, voters rejected the transparent attacks of Rick Scott Republicans like Rep. Chris Dorworth in favor of a candidate with a proven record of strengthening the economy and protecting the interest of middle class families.
This race was a direct rebuke of the ethically-challenged, corrupt Rickpublican Dorworth - in his own backyard - who is facing serious calls for him to resign his House seat as allegations swirl regarding his own personal financial double-dealing.
Orlando Sentinel: Altamonte Springs Mayor Pat Bates re-elected
Mayor fends off challenge from lobbyist Bob O'Malley
Altamonte Springs Mayor Pat Bates held on to her office tonight, fending off a challenge from CSX Transportation lobbyist Bob O'Malley in the city's first contested election in a decade.
Bates received 53 percent of the vote, compared with 47 percent for O'Malley.
O'Malley's campaign was aided by the Small Business Advocacy Council in Tallahassee, which sent numerous mailers accusing Bates of being a "liberal Democrat." In response, Bates, who has been on the City Commission since 1997 and became mayor in 2008, maintained that she is a fiscal conservative.
"I heard from an awful lot of people that didn't like that kind of campaigning and were in my corner," Bates said tonight. "I'm thrilled that I get to continue to represent the people of Altamonte Springs."
Bates ran on keeping the city debt-free and taxes low. The city paid off its debt earlier this year.
O'Malley, who had the backing of Seminole County Republican leaders, said he had nothing to do with the council or its mailer and encouraged residents during a recent candidate forum to toss them in the garbage.
The council, a so-called "527" group, named after a section of the tax code, can run ads to influence voters but can't endorse a candidate. However, a required financial report showed that the council was funded by two organizations started by Republican legislators.
Rep. Matt Gaetz of Fort Walton Beach founded the Economic Freedom Foundation, which contributed $5,000 to the council. Rep. Chris Dorworth of Lake Mary founded Citizens for Enterprising Democracy, which contributed $10,000 to the council. Both groups also contributed to O'Malley's campaign.
About 34 percent of the city's voters registered Republican. However, the mayoral seat, which has a three-year term, is nonpartisan. About 10 percent of the city's 27,000 registered voters cast aballot in the election.