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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Ed Braddy upsets Craig Lowe in mayoral runoff

<p>Craig Lowe speaks to his supporters in his campaign office after losing the mayoral race to Ed Braddy. Lowe finished with about 45 percent of the vote.</p>

Craig Lowe speaks to his supporters in his campaign office after losing the mayoral race to Ed Braddy. Lowe finished with about 45 percent of the vote.

Ed Braddy will serve as Gainesville’s new mayor after he defeated incumbent Craig Lowe in Tuesday’s runoff election.

Braddy, a former District 2 city commissioner, received 7,258 votes — about 55 percent of the vote — while Lowe received 6,007 votes — about 45 percent.

The Supervisor of Elections’ Office reported a 16-percent voter turnout, a 1-percent increase from the March 19 city election.

After all 35 precincts reported their results just after 7:30 p.m., Braddy celebrated his victory with friends and supporters at The Warehouse restaurant on South Main Street.

Braddy said his campaign strategy helped set him apart from Lowe.

“We stayed relentlessly positive, and they got increasingly negative,” he said. “And I think the voters kind of started to turn on that.”

Meanwhile, at Lowe’s campaign office at 315 SE Second Ave., Lowe emerged from a back room and thanked applauding supporters.

“The voters made their decisions,” he said, “and that is the beauty of democracy: that voters get to decide.”

He later issued a statement congratulating Braddy.

“While we disagreed on many of the issues confronting our city during this election,” he said, “I hope that we will maintain an open line of communication as he assumes his duties as Mayor and look forward to a city government that continues to take all viewpoints into account.”

Lowe’s campaign manager, Nick Mildebrath, said he didn’t know what may have contributed to Tuesday’s results.

“I don’t know what goes through the minds of the voters,” he said. “It would be impossible for me to theorize what happened without looking at the data.”

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As the city’s new mayor, Braddy said his first order of business would be to improve transportation and infrastructure for east Gainesville residents.

“By focusing on this particular area of town ... it will be a great way to help all of the citizens,” he said.

Braddy added he plans to work with GRU officials and city commissioners in restructuring the city’s biomass contract.

Asked if Lowe’s arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence might have affected the race, Braddy said it may have had a minimal effect.

“I think we were positioned to win it,” he said.

District 2 City Commissioner Todd Chase said he was excited about the election because it reflected residents’ open-mindedness.

“I think the reality is that we could all work together and govern closer to the metal,” he said.

Staff Writer Chris Alcantara contributed to this report.

Contact Kathryn Varn at kvarn@alligator.org.

Craig Lowe speaks to his supporters in his campaign office after losing the mayoral race to Ed Braddy. Lowe finished with about 45 percent of the vote.

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