Phil Anderson wins Winter Park mayoral race

click to enlarge Winter Park mayor Phil Anderson - Via Phil Anderson for Mayor
Via Phil Anderson for Mayor
Winter Park mayor Phil Anderson

Former Winter Park city commissioner Phil Anderson won that city's mayoral race on Tuesday. Unofficial results have Anderson winning 53 percent of the vote to main competitor Sarah Sprinkel's 46 percent.

The real estate equity fund executive ran on a platform that included fixing the tiny city's congestion issues and opposing development that would mar the city's parks and historic homes.

"My vision of the city is that we want to embrace the charm that has taken 140 years to create," he told Winter Park news website The 32789 last month. "We need to do that in a way we invest in the city and make sure that the building’s infrastructure that we put in is thoroughly modern and ready for this century but at the same time it respects the scale and the environment that we are part of."

Anderson will walk into a slightly contentious environment, following a heated showdown with members of the city's Chamber of Commerce during the run-up to the election. Anderson objected to the wording of a question in a mayoral debate against Sprinkel, hosted by the Chamber. The question accused the city's commissioners of "blatantly colluding" to axe a hotel development project. Though Anderson didn't serve on the commission at the time, he was offended by the implication of illegal activity from its current members. He confronted Chamber of Commerce President Betsy Gardner Eckbert after the debate.

The Chamber shared a statement explaining the incident and calling it "unacceptable."

“The candidate’s anger and proximity prompted Ms. Gardner Eckbert to ask if she was being threatened and prompted a Chamber employee to run up to the podium to insert herself between the two,” the chamber explained. “Not only was it in direct conflict with a statement of decorum signed by the candidates, it was unacceptable under any circumstances.”

Anderson later apologized for his "intensity" while refusing to cop to the idea that he threatened anyone.

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