Today, residents will cast their votes to choose between the two top-rated candidates for a City Commission seat.
Helen K. Warren and Annie Orlando are the only choices on the ballot for at-large seat 2.
Mayor Ed Braddy said it’s no surprise the race went into a runoff.
For a winner to be declared, a candidate must receive more than 50 percent of the vote. The race had a field of five candidates in the general election March 11.
Warren and Orlando emerged as clear favorites in the race when they both received vote percentages in the mid-40s. Since they were the top two contenders, they will face each other in the runoff.
“Whenever you have a crowded field like they did in the at-large (race), there is a good chance that no one would quite get the 50 percent,” he said.
As far as the impact of the runoff election results, Braddy said “it’s hard to say.”
One new candidate won’t totally change the commission, he said, but it could signal direction for the commission.
“You have seven elected officials,” he said. “Each are free and independent in terms of the issues and how they vote.”
Warren said the weeks between the original election and runoff have gone by quickly.
“But I’m too busy working and making phone calls to be nervous,” she said.
Her campaign is working to ensure the voters who came out for the March election will hit the polls again and that those who didn’t vote previously will cast a ballot this time.
“We’re letting them know that this is a crucial vote,” she said.
Warren said if today’s election goes her way, she plans to learn everything she can about City Commission — starting with the budget.
But if it doesn’t, Warren said she’ll continue working as a real estate agent until she has the opportunity to run again.
The Alligator couldn’t reach Orlando for comment. But Braddy said he’s supporting her because of her “business-minded focus.”
According to a Supervisor of Elections news release, registered voters who live within city limits can vote in their precinct between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. today.
Voters must show a current, valid photo ID and signature at the precinct.
Residents can find their precincts at votealachua.com.
[A version of this story ran on page 1 on 4/8/2014 under the headline "Runoff election for City Commission seat today"]