In the tightest race in years for an Orange County Commission seat, Maribel Gomez Cordero upset Susan Makowski for the District 4 seat by just 175 votes, in a contest likely to head toward a recount.

Before then, there are plenty of votes yet to be counted, as the Orange County Canvassing Board will meet Thursday to review provisional ballots and other votes in that and other races, and if the margin remains below a half-percent — the difference is at 0.24 percent currently — that and other potential recounts could start Monday, Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles said.

Cordero’s apparent victory comes against long odds, though it comes in a district with a large and growing Hispanic population, and she drew support from the Orange County Democratic Party for the nonpartisan race, two factors that likely helped.

Makowski was a longtime aide to the incumbent, Commissioner Jennifer Thompson, and was well-plugged in and well-financed, outspending Cordero $176,000 to $13,000.

About The Author

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at

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