Decision Apopka 2018
It is almost a certainty that the April 10th runoff between incumbent Commissioner Diane Velazquez and challenger Alice Nolan for the Apopka City Commission Seat #2 election will have a lower voter turnout than the general election of March 13th. Afterall, there is no mayoral election on the ballot, one less City Commission race, and two of the candidates for Seat #2 have been eliminated from the runoff. There was also a record-turnout of 6,472 voters for the general election which would be hard to beat under any circumstances.
It would only make sense that interest in the final City Commission race of the election cycle would garner less attention, but a funny thing happened on the way to rational political analysis.
Apopka kept voting.
With seven days left until the April 10th runoff 1,533 voters have either mailed-in their ballots or voted early at the Orange County Elections Office in Orlando. In comparison, at this point in the March 13th general election, 1,782 voters had either mailed-in their ballots or voted early – which means the runoff is at 85.9% of the pace.
If this were to hold, it would put the runoff turnout at 5,559, which would be higher than the 2016 runoff elections for Seat #3 (between Doug Bankson and Sam Ruth) and Seat #4 (between Bill Arrowsmith and Kyle Becker). It would also be higher than the 2014 general election which featured a mayoral race between John Land and Joe Kilsheimer.
So interest in this lone runoff remains high, but who does this unexpected high voter turnout favor?
Of the votes received, 821 was from Precinct 9104 (VFW/Apopka Community Center). That’s 82.1% of what was received at this point in the general election and 4.38% of its registered voters (18,732). 712 votes (which is 92% of the votes received at this point in the general election) have been received from Precinct 9204 (Northwest Recreation Facility) which represents 5.68% of its registered voters (12,250). Overall, 4.9% of Apopka’s 31,252 voters have either mailed-in their ballots or voted early at the Supervisor of Elections Office in Orlando.
In the general election, Nolan outperformed Velazquez in Precinct 9104 with 1,344-1,076 votes, while Velazquez outperformed Nolan in Precinct 9210 with 1,264-1,134. Therefore the increased pace and percentage of Precinct 9204 would appear to favor Velazquez, but is that factor enough to make up the 138-vote difference Nolan had over Velazquez in the general election?
In two polls conducted by The Apopka Voice in January and February, Nolan and Velazquez traded razor-thin victories of 1.1% or less. Then in the general election, Nolan edged Velazquez by 2.2%.
In every measurement, these two candidates have been neck-and-neck, and the runoff seems destined for a nail-biting result decided by a small margin.
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