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Tallahassee's mayoral primary ends with Dailey and Dozier nearly tied. Both head to a November runoff

A woman in a blue shirt poses
Erich Martin
Leon County Commissioner Kristin Dozier and Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey are heading to a run-off in their campaigns for mayor

The Tallahassee mayor’s race is going to a runoff. After a four-way race, current Mayor John Dailey and Leon County Commissioner Kristin Dozier are separated by just half a percent. And it’s likely that the race, already bitterly fought, will grow more contentious between now and November.

As of 2 a.m. Wednesday, Dailey had 45.68% to Dozier’s 46.08% share of the vote. Though the race is close and likely to stay that way through Nov. 8, Dailey says he's confident he'll be re-elected.

“You need steady leadership in the mayor’s office that’s going to continue to bring people to the table so that we can solve these issues and keep moving forward. So I look forward to serving another four years as mayor, keeping us on the right track as we address the challenges that face us,” he said.

Dozier, too, is feeling confident.

“This may be closer than a lot of folks anticipated, but we knew we would be very close tonight. And I am just so proud of our team, all of our volunteers and supporters…and I also have to acknowledge all the people who were silent supporters who didn’t feel like they could speak up. And I am so grateful for everyone who turned out and voted in this election. It’s so important,” she said.

The race for mayor has been marked by election complaints, accusations of dark money, and increasingly hostile exchanges between Dailey and Dozier. The two had a more collegial relationship when they both served on the County Commission. But that broke down over controversial votes to expand the urban services boundary to yet-developed areas of the Welaunee Plantation. More recently they clashed over a decision to give Florida State University $27 million for stadium improvements and repairs. Dailey voted for the allocation, while Dozier was adamantly opposed.

Michael Ibrahim had 3% of the vote, and Whitfield Leland had a little over 5%.

Follow @MargieMenzel

Margie Menzel covers local and state government for WFSU News. She has also worked at the News Service of Florida and Gannett News Service. She earned her B.A. in history at Vanderbilt University and her M.S. in journalism at Florida A&M University.