As of Tuesday’s primary election, the County Commission District 5 race has been narrowed down to two candidates who voters will have to choose between this November: Ted Edwards, the incumbent, and Emily Bonilla, an environmental rights activist who is vehemently opposed to the projects Edwards says will make the district even better than before. But their opponents who lost in Tuesday’s primary, Timothy McKinney and Gregory Eisenberg, are now assessing how to move forward now that their campaigns are over.
McKinney said he wasn’t sure who he would be endorsing in the race for District 5 now, if anyone at all.
“I’m going to have to think about it and see how I can best leverage my influence to see the most positive results for the community,” he told FloridaPolitics.com.
Without expressing support for Bonilla, he said the fact that a runoff election existed at all was evidence the community at large was unhappy with Edwards’ leadership.
“Clearly, the voters of Orange County District 5 are not happy with the leadership of Commissioner Edwards, with combined votes against him being over 57 percent,” he wrote. “He lost a huge percentage of his historic base this election. Hopefully this outcome sends a strong enough message that we see an immediate turnaround in Ted’s actions, attitudes, and recent decisions before the November runoff.”
He added that neither Bonilla nor Edwards had made an attempt to work with him yet — and, he said, “neither can win without the support of those who voted for [him].”
Eisenberg said he hadn’t endorsed anyone yet, though he has been speaking with Edwards regarding how to move forward with some of the ideas and plans Eisenberg’s campaign was running on — among them improving the district’s infrastructure and transportation, especially around the University of Central Florida, and improving relations between UCF and Orange County.
“This election is bigger than myself,” he said. “It’s for the constituents of District 5 and Orange County. Whoever can bring those solutions will have my support.”
He said he was talking with Edwards because he found the two of them could work together to make the campaign about the issues and solutions. Though he maintained that he had “nothing but respect” for Bonilla, he felt their opinions differed somewhat on the solutions best for District 5 and that she didn’t see where he was coming from. He said he felt she focused too much on the issue of urban sprawl and not enough on the issues of infrastructure, as he was doing.
But he still said he would work with her if she won, too.
“I’ll work with whoever wins,” he said. “If that is Ted Edwards, than I’ll definitely work with him to solve long-term issues in District 5. My vote will go towards whoever the candidate is who is looking to bring out the most in the county and is able to act on it.”
He said he was “definitely leaning towards” endorsing Edwards, but that he needed a few weeks to mull it over before putting that down on paper.
Bonilla, in the days following her victory, said the people have spoken and they want a change. She hoped both McKinney and Eisenberg would support her in the coming general election.
“In the Primary, I faced three candidates,” she wrote. “The two other challengers consistently stated that the incumbent had failed to lead and had disregarded the voice of the people. The people have spoken. They want a change. 58% of the people don’t want the incumbent Ted Edwards. Both of the challengers ran fine races. I hope that they both will uphold the will of the people and back my campaign to replace the incumbent.”