Florida Politics: Orange Co. constitutional office incumbents seek reelection

Six incumbents and five challengers, all Democrats, seek Orange County offices

Three incumbent constitutional officers in Orange County filed for reelection Thursday, completing the slate of all six countywide elected independent administrators officially seeking another term in 2020.

On Thursday, Orange County Clerk of Courts Tiffany Moore Russell, Tax Collector Scott Randolph, and Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles filed for reelection.

They joined Orange County Comptroller Phil Diamond, who filed for reelection in September, and Property Appraiser Rick Singh, who filed in August for reelection, and Orange County Sheriff John Mina, who filed on Jan. 2, 2019.

All six are Democrats in contests that are partisan, based on a Florida Supreme Court decision last spring that threw out an Orange County Charter amendment that would have converted them to nonpartisan positions had it held up in court.

Mina, Singh, and Cowles all have opponents. However, all of them, like all the incumbents, are Democrats. No Republicans have filed for any of the county constitutional offices. So at the moment, the 2020 elections are set to be decided in the Aug. 18 county primary election.

Democrats had a 142,000-voter advantage in the Orange County rolls in the most recent count. At the end of November, the county had a reported 359,127 Democrats, 217,231 Republicans, and 268,732 independents or third-party members registered to vote.

Mina is seeking a first full term, after beating Darryl Sheppard and retired Florida Highway Patrol Chief Joe Lopez in the 2018 election to fill the final two years of the term of former Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings, who was elected Orange County Mayor last year. Both Mina and Lopez ran as independent candidates in 2018 because both had changed their party status in 2017, too late to qualify for the 2018 ballot as Democrats.

This time Mina is in a four-way contest with Lopez, former Eatonville Police Chief Eric McIntyre, and former Assistant Public Defender Andrew Darling.

Cowles faces Della Davis, a former temporary worker in the supervisor’s office, who previously ran against Cowles in 2016. Cowles won his sixth term in that 2016 contest by an 80-20 spread over Davis.

Singh faces Khalid Muneera former banker and real estate broker. Singh is seeking a third term, after having been reelected in 2016 by a 61-39 count over Republican Edward DeAguilera.

Moore Russell, Randolph, and Diamond all also are seeking third terms.

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