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Incumbents win the day in Orlando as Buddy Dyer, Patty Sheehan, Sam Ings win

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Amid reports of low turnout in Orlando municipal elections, Democratic Mayor Buddy Dyer defeated Republican veteran and businessman Paul Paulson by a wide 63-to-33 margin on Thursday.

Sunshine Lisa Grund, a local medical student, took in about 4 percent of the vote.

District 4 City Commissioner Patty Sheehan also scored another term against challengers Randy Ross, who gathered 20 percent of the vote, and Aretha Olivarez, with 11 percent.

The sitting commissioner in District 6, Sam Ings also won re-election Tuesday evening with 52 percent of the vote, defeating four challengers.

Early reports estimated just 14.65 percent of eligible voters took part in the municipal election, down from a then-low of 15.4 percent three years ago.

Florida Democratic Party Chair Allison Tant congratulated Dyer on his fifth term as Orlando mayor.

“I want to congratulate Mayor Buddy Dyer on his re-election. Orlando residents know that from Day One, Mayor Dyer has been a tireless advocate for growing the middle class, helping small businesses, and increasing public safety,” Tant said Tuesday evening.

“He’s made city government more effective and efficient, and I’m thrilled he will have four more years to continue to build on his successes,” said Tant, whose party rolled out a “Municipal Victory Plan” this week.

Paulson had campaigned against Dyer on taxes and reportedly outspent the mayor considerably.

All three re-elected officials begin their new terms on Jan. 1.

Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at

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