Deltona has a new mayor and three new city commissioners, giving newcomers a four-vote majority on the seven-member City Commission. Also, the City Commission has changed from majority female to majority male.
The massive outperformance of Republican voters versus Democratic voters may have influenced Deltona’s nonpartisan mayoral race, where incumbent Mayor Heidi Herzberg, a Democrat, was defeated by Republican Santiago Avila Jr., who had less than half of the approximately $20,000 in campaign funds that Herzberg had at her disposal.
Avila saw his victory as an indictment of the current city administration.
“Residents are fed up,” he said.
As the new mayor, Avila said, he hopes to have conversations with many residents and, “make sure they have a voice.”
Avila’s victory ended Herzberg’s 12-year tenure on the City Commission. She congratulated her opponent for a job well done.
The Deltona City Commission now includes:
Mayor Avila. Avila got 14,061 votes to Herzberg’s 12,505.
Tom Burbank in District 1, who defeated Brandy White to replace Commissioner Loren King, who opted not to run for re-election. Burbank got 1,821 votes to White’s 1,709.
Maritza Avila-Vazquez, the incumbent in District 3, who defeated challenger Tara D’Errico. Avila-Vazquez got 2,183 votes to D’Errico’s 1,694.
Stephen Colwell in District 5, who was automatically elected when the other candidate in the race, Donald Freeman, dropped out. Colwell replaces Victor Ramos, who resigned from the Deltona City Commission to run for the District 5 seat on the County Council. Colwell got 2,009 votes to Ramos’ 1,908.
Jody Lee Storozuk in District 6, who defeated William “Bill” Coakley in the race to replace David Sosa, who also resigned to run for the District 5 seat on the County Council. Storozuk got 2,556 votes to Coakley’s 1,978.
The vote numbers are low for a city of about 96,000 people, because only those Deltonans who live in the affected districts are eligible to vote in the district races.
Also, Anita Bradford remains in the District 2 seat, and Dana McCool remains in the District 4 seat on the Deltona City Commission. Neither seat was up for election this year.
DeBary had three of its five City Council seats up for election this year, but ended up with only one race on the ballot when Mayor Karen Chasez and Seat 4 Council Member Phyllis Butlien didn’t get opponents and were automatically re-elected.
In the one race, for Seat 3, voters also declined to make changes in their city government. Incumbent City Council Member Patricia Stevenson won re-election over challenger Donnie Taylor.
On election night, Stevenson was already thinking about the future, notably infrastructure improvements she wants to work on.
“I’d love to see something done about Dirksen Drive, widening it between I-4 and 17-92,” she said.
She noted that the race with Taylor was cordial and said, “We both care about our town.”
Of the 8,897 ballots cast in the race, Stevenson received 5,231 to Taylor’s 3,666.
While four of the five DeLand City Commission seats were on the ballot this year, voters didn’t want that much change.
Incumbents Kevin Reid and Jessica Davis held onto their seats in the primary election. In the Nov. 8 election, Chris Cloudman leapt from being a city commissioner to the city’s first new mayor in 21 years.
The only newbie on the DeLand City Commission is DeLand businessman Dan Reed, who defeated Pastor Troy Bradley in the August election to win the seat Cloudman had vacated to run for mayor.
As DeLand continues to grow and change, Cloudman said, he is excited to lead the city into its next stage and to connect with DeLandites.
“I am going to spend a lot of time reconnecting with a lot of our business owners, a lot of our community members, a lot of people that make DeLand what it is,” Cloudman told The Beacon on election night.
Cloudman defeated pastor and retired Volusia County administrator Reggie Williams.
“It hasn’t happened for us,” Williams told his supporters on election night. “We did everything we could, but it just hasn’t happened. But there’s still work to be done. There’s still much to do. Thank you all for your support.”
Cloudman received 7,784 votes to Willliams’ 5,603.
In DeLand’s next election, in 2024, two city commissioners will be on the ballot: Charles Paiva and Dan Reed. Reed was elected to serve the remaining two years of the four-year term Cloudman had been elected to in 2020.
Three newcomers will join the Orange City Council, and all three are women, flipping the seven-member City Council’s gender majority.
There were four seats up for election, but only two races on the ballot. Casandra Jones was the only candidate to replace Bill Crippen — who chose not to seek re-election — in the at-large seat, and Vice Mayor Kelli Marks didn’t get a challenger for her District 4 seat. Both were automatically elected.
In the two contested races, incumbent Jeff Allebach lost his District 2 seat to Lisa Stafford, and incumbent Martin Harper lost to challenger Fran Darms.
Stafford got 386 votes to 361 for Allebach, while Darms got 649 votes to Harper’s 321.
Stafford makes history as the first Black woman elected to the City Council.
She said more women on the City Council will likely make the City Council more caring toward Orange City residents.
“There is going to be a change,” Stafford said.
Darms said she was “gobsmacked” by the results in her race, and credited the energy she applied to the campaign, compared to Harper.
“I went outside of the comfort zone he relied on,” Darms said.
Allebach conceded he may have been too comfortable.
“Probably I didn’t campaign enough,” he told The Beacon.
Remaining on the City Council are William O’Connor in District 1, and Alex Tiamson in District 3.
Lake Helen had two of its five City Commission seats on the ballot, and a newcomer who has been an outspoken attendee at City Commission meetings won one of them.
Incumbent City Commissioner Roger Eckert held onto the Zone 2 seat with 809 votes to challenger Kurt Sniffin’s 557 votes.
But incumbent Jim Connell lost the Zone 4 seat to challenger Charlene Bishop, with 545 votes to Bishop’s 804.
After getting pushed out at the polls, Connell got pushed at his final City Commission meeting on Nov. 10, too, when the husband of former Mayor Daisy Raisler, George Raisler, shoved Connell and cursed at him, according to police, who arrested Raisler and charged him with misdemeanor domestic violence.
In addition to Eckert and Bishop, the City Commission includes Mayor Cameron Lane, Zone 1 representative Heather Rutledge and Zone 3 representative Rick Basso, whose seats were not up for election this year.
Three seats on the five-member Pierson Town Council were up for grabs this election cycle, but just two saw any action. Vice Mayor Robert F. Greenlund was re-elected without contest for his seat, while incumbent D. Gray Leonhard was ousted by former Planning Commission Chair Linnie Richardson, and newcomer Brandy Peterson won a seat made vacant by another untimely death of a Pierson Town Council member.
Leonhard joined the Town Council in 2021 following the death of then-Council Member James T. Peterson. Richardson received 250 votes to his 161.
Richardson will be joined on the Pierson Town Council by another new face, Brandy Peterson, who was also elected Nov. 8.
She was elected to the seat previously held by Tom Larrivee, who died earlier this year. Larrivee’s seat sat vacant until the election.
Peterson received 251 votes, more than the 157 her opponent, retired town employee L. James Anderson, received.
Three of the five members of the Northwest Volusia town’s elected representatives are now women, including Sergia Cardenas, the first Hispanic woman elected to the Town Council, who was elected in 2020.