Winter Park Mayor Steve Leary breezed to re-election Tuesday, garnering more than 70 percent of the vote in easily defeating Jim Fitch.

Leary, first elected mayor in 2015 during a much more contentious growth period for Winter Park, sought re-election pointing to more controlled but steady growth, while Fitch tried to contend that the city’s growth still was a problem.

In unofficial results posted Tuesday night by the Orange County Supervisor of Elections website, Leary drew 3,301 votes, to Fitch’s 1,278. That is 72 percent to 28 percent.

Leary runs an engineering company and a property management company that invests in rehabbing and preserving old buildings particularly in historic areas of  Haines City, Mount Dora and Winter Park.

He was first elected to the Winter Park City Commission in 2011 and re-elected in 2013, and first elected mayor in 2015. He and his wife Caroline have triplets children.

Voter turnout was just over 21 percent in Winter Park.

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 Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused.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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