The Apopka City Council has been pretty fluid in the last few election cycles. Since 2014, 12 different people have occupied the five seats on the dais. Now in 2024, at least one more change is coming.
Commissioner Kyle Becker shocked Apopka when he told the Council he would not be running for office in 2024.
"Today, I announce my intentions not to seek re-election in the upcoming 2024 Apopka municipal election," Becker said at a June meeting. "As such, please treat this letter as my confirmation my term will end at the installment of the next duly elected Commissioner of Seat 3... It is with humbling honor that I again thank the people of Apopka for the opportunity and privilege to serve."
Becker stormed onto the Apopka political scene in 2016 with an upset victory over 40-year incumbent Commissioner Bill Arrowsmith. He defended his seat in 2020, lost a narrow mayoral election in 2022, and then returned to win Seat #3 in a special election, also in 2022.
Becker is a powerful voice on Council both as one of only five votes and in debates on important issues. His departure leaves a vacuum of power.
But who will be running to fill that vacuum?
With Becker not on the ballot and incumbent Commissioner Nick Nesta expected to run for re-election to Seat #4, the field could be large for Seat #3. And three of the most likely candidates are candidates who ran for office in 2022 - Wes Dumey, Lynetta Johnson, and Eric Mock.
Dumey did not respond to a text Thursday afternoon but did tell The Apopka Voice he was considering a run as late as July 10th. Dumey was appointed to the Planning Commission in July 2022. He ran unsuccessfully for Seat #2 in 2022 against Commissioner Diane Velazquez.
Johnson did not respond to a text Thursday afternoon asking her if she was considering a run for Seat #3. Johnson ran unsuccessfully for the seat against Becker in 2022. Johnson was a first-time candidate for office and the Director of Operations for Prime Electrical Services. She served in the US Air Force from 1990-2000. In 2012, she was the Senior Contract Administrator for Moog Inc., where she managed the revolutionary aircraft Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Mock, who ran unsuccessfully for Seat #4 in 2022 against Nesta, responded to The Apopka Voice's text, expressing an interest in running in 2024. He, too, was appointed to serve on the Planning Commission in May 2023.
He released the following statement:
"I am considering running for Seat 3. Apopka continues tremendous development growth, labor challenges needed for the current and future growth along with an extremely sad loss of the life of one of Apopka’s Firefighters. If elected, I’d focus on opportunities for improvement. What are the issues? Are there short-term, medium, or long-term solutions? Work to prioritize the strategic plan, then execute the plan. Continuous improvement necessitates continuous review ensuring quality. Apopka is a wonderful place to live. If I run and I were ejected, I’d work to pursue what makes our city great."
Apopka municipal elections will likely coincide with the Florida Presidential Preference Primary on March 19th, 2024.