Orange County voters elect two new commissioners, approve charter amendments

Orange County voters elected two new commissioners to the county's highest board and approved controversial amendments.

In District 5, environmental advocate Emily Bonilla beat incumbent Commissioner Ted Edwards after a bitter fight regarding conflicts over the rural character of east Orange County. Edwards spearheaded votes on two developments east of the Econlockhatchee River that would put about 4,000 homes in an ecologically sensitive area. Bonilla, founder of the environmental group East of the Econ, protested Edwards' decision along with hundreds of east Orange County residents. Bonilla won with 57 percent of the vote.

In West Orange's District 1, business development consultant Betsy VanderLey beat Winter Garden Commissioner Robert "Bobby O" Olszewski by a closer margin of 54 to 47 percent of the vote. VanderLey was endorsed by many influential political figures and groups, including Mayor Teresa Jacobs, several county commissioners and the National Rifle Association.

Orange County voters also chose to approve all three charter amendments, including a controversial amendment adds additional requirements for citizens trying to put initiatives on the ballot, making it harder for ordinary residents to make their voice heard.

Here's a list of the winners from the remaining Orange County races:

- Orange-Osceola Circuit Judge: Luis Calderón
- Orange County Judge Group 1: Eric DuBois
- Orange County Judge Group 4: David Johnson
- Orange County Judge Group 5: Evellen Jewett
- Orange-Osceola State Attorney: Aramis Ayala
- Orange County Clerk of Courts: Tiffany Moore Russell
- Orange County Sheriff: Jerry Demings
- Orange County Property Appraiser: Rick Singh
- Orange County Tax Collector: Scott Randolph
- Orange County Supervisor of Election: Bill Cowles
- Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor Group 1: Michael D. Barber
- Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor Group 3: Nicole Victoria McLaren
- Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor Group 5: Tiffany S. Dziekan
- Orange County School Board District 7: Christine Moore

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