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Friday, May 31, 2013

Alleged law breaker vs. former law enforcer?: The drumbeat to recruit Val Demings for the Orange County mayoral race gets louder

Posted on Fri, May 31, 2013 at 10:10 AM

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Though it's been a persistent rumor for nearly a year in Democratic power circles (NOT FIRING SQUADS!), the sense that something may be nudging former Orlando Police Chief and failed Democratic congressional candidate Val Demings into the municipal ring next year took on a new life yesterday. Somebody – nobody seems to be owning up to it – launched a Facebook page to "Draft Val Demings for Orange County Mayor in 2014" yesterday, and the page has already garnered 80 "likes." That's mostly interesting because a.) Demings has been coy about the possibility in the past and b.) Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs' own re-election page only has a meager 14 "likes." We know, we know: Elections aren't won on Facebook, and the notion of "draft"-ing anyone against their will into the boredom of the Orange County administration building may seem a little juvenile, especially when said public figure has been praised by Bill Clinton as recently as last year. But there is something to this.

Ever since the Orlando Sentinel ran a story raising the question of a Demings candidacy in March, it's hard to avoid the dinner party suggestion of how strong a candidate Demings could be against the seemingly unbeatable Jacobs (at least in her 2010 version). Lately, though, Jacobs has been struggling with numerous legal embarrassments in the face of LOLTEXTGATE sick time chicanery, and she hasn't done herself many favors by pissing off minorities and gays for various reasons. Demings, meanwhile, has a pretty clean record of NOT playing litigiously loose with politics – she's an outsider with lofty law enforcement pedigree, rather. And, well, demographically speaking, she'd probably garner a lot of support in a blue county, even in a non-partisan mayoral race. We'll certainly be keeping our eyes on this one.

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