After the polls close on Tuesday night, Orange County will have elected a new mayor, and the state a new governor and U.S. senator.
And Winter Park residents’ names are all over the ballots.
Winter Park Democrat Bill Segal takes on former County Commissioner Teresa Jacobs for the Orange County mayoral seat. Several polls show Jacobs, a Republican, edging out the county commissioner for District 5.
Two Winter Parkers are looking to keep their seats — U.S. Rep. John Mica, who faces a challenge from Democrat Heather Beaven, and Florida Rep. Dean Cannon, who’s challenged by Democrat Amy Mercado. Several political polls have the two incumbents coasting to an easy win on Election Day.
Two folks with ties to Winter Park — former City Commissioner Karen Diebel and former Ruth’s Chris CEO Craig Miller — were knocked out of the U.S. House District 24 race after the Aug. 24 primary. Here’s a look at how close this race has gotten between incumbent Suzanne Kosmas and Florida District 33 Rep. Sandy Adams:
The race for U.S. House District 24 is coming to a boil as negative ads and mudslinging flash across TV screens and land in mailboxes.
Kosmas, a Democrat, is challenged by Adams, a Republican, and faces a daunting re-election bid as many independent polls show Adams has a slight advantage in the historically Republican district.
A poll, conducted Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 by Public Opinion Strategies for the National Republican Congressional Committee and Adams, shows the state representative from Oviedo had a 12-point lead. A poll of 400 likely voters showed a 4.9 percent margin of error.
But Kosmas is not concerned. A poll conducted by Hamilton Campaigns in September surveyed 400 registered voters and showed the incumbent with a two-point lead.
“According to sources, we know it’s going to be a close race. But we are encouraged by our endorsements,” Kosmas said.
Kosmas’ endorsements include the Orlando Sentinel, Florida Today and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.
Adams says she is humbled by the recent polls, but the only poll that counts is the one taking place on Nov. 2.
But Adams said Kosmas is getting desperate, as her campaign has released a number of attack ads that Adams’ says are misleading.
Kosmas has claimed that Adams supports the privatization of Social Security — a statement that Adams says is a lie.
“Desperate people do desperate things,” she said. “They are not focusing on the issues. I never would privatize Social Security.”
Kosmas was ranked as one of the top 10 most moderate in Congress by National Journal and says that she has been elected to represent all of the voters.
Adams, on the other hand, has not participated in negative television advertising to date and does not plan to, she said, because of her pledge during the primary to run an issues-based campaign as opposed to taking jabs at her opponents.
As of Sept. 30, she has raised more than $740,000 and had more than $290,000 cash-on-hand as the race entered its final two weeks.
Kosmas, who has raised more than $2.2 million and has more than $460,000 left in reserves, recently lost $650,000 from the National Democrats, after they pulled future television ads that would have aired during the last two weeks of the election.
Kosmas and the National Democrats say they did so because she has enough resources to continue without assistance.
“Our campaign has a large resource advantage and growing momentum, including strong third-quarter fundraising numbers and the endorsement of the Orlando Sentinel,” Kosmas spokesman Marc Goldberg said. “While Suzanne Kosmas is standing up for Central Florida, Tallahassee politician Sandy Adams clearly has the wrong priorities, and we are confident that we have the resources we need to continue highlighting the choice and win on Nov. 2.”
But Aubrey Jewett, associate professor of political science at the University of Central Florida, said the national tide is against Democrats.
The public discontent with the Democratic Party has Republicans prepared to gain a number of seats across the nation, he said. This is something both candidates are aware of.
Kosmas said Washington has become out of touch with the nation and she wants to change traditional government.
“I understand the public frustration, and I feel it,” she said.
Adams maintains that people in the district want to be listened to and that the biggest issue among them is President Obama’s health care plan.
Jewett said that Kosmas winning in a district that has more than 13,000 more registered Republicans than Democrats would prove difficult a second time.
“Most congressional ratings say this will be a Republican pickup,” he said.
He also said Kosmas’ flip-flop vote on health care and voting ties with Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the House, could make it even more difficult for her.
Kosmas originally voted against the health care bill, but later agreed to a revised version.
“Most people don’t pay attention to the votes,” he said. “But the flip-flop vote really hurts her.”