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John Dailey wins a tight race for Tallahassee mayor

Erich Martin
/
Erich Martin
Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey wins a second term, but Leon County Commissioner Kristin Dozier, his opponent in the mayoral race, predicts it will be different from his first term

Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey has been re-elected to a second term, edging Leon County Commissioner Kristin Dozier by 53.16 percent of the vote to her 46.84 percent.

Dailey celebrated at Andrew’s Downtown, hugging his family and supporters. He attributed his victory to their work.

“I’m tired. [laughs] Nah, I feel great, I mean, I really do. The voters have spoken. They believe in our vision," he said. "And so it’s time to wake up tomorrow and get back to work. As we talked earlier, we’ve got a potential storm that could be impacting our community, so there’s no rest. We’ll wake up tomorrow, we have a city commission meeting tomorrow as well, and so we’re just going to keep doing the work.”

The race was bitter and expensive, with Dailey raising more than twice what Dozier did. She predicted that by the time all the dust settles, she’ll have been outspent four to one.

“We have faced incredible lies and personal attacks and a negative campaign unlike anything this community has ever seen," Dozier said. "And yet we came just within a few thousand votes. That is a phenomenal accomplishment. I’m proud of the work that we did. I’m proud of the conversation we started. And most importantly, this campaign is holding Mayor John Dailey accountable.”

Dozier just completed her third term as a county commissioner. She announced she’d be stepping down last November. Her campaign for mayor was not a defeat, she said.

“And I am confident the next four years will look very different than the last four. People will be watching more closely," Dozier said. "We have brought these tactics, brought this discussion into the sunshine. And people will be watching. And I am proud of everything. And I am so grateful for everyone who participated. We did a great job.”

Dailey took it all in stride. His victory maintains a 3-2 majority on the city commission in which Mayor Pro Tem Curtis Richardson and Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox vote with Dailey frequently.

"Well, you know, elections can be contentious, and I get that," Dailey said. "And cycles come and cycles go. But as soon as the election is over, it’s our responsibility, and it’s my responsibility as mayor to bring everybody back together, bring everybody to the table, give everybody a voice because that’s how we bring the community together and I fully intend to do so.”

Dozier says her next steps will be focused on economic development -- and on marrying her fiancé, John Webb, in the new year.

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.