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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler was re-elected for his third term in office on Tuesday.
The incumbent won with 70 percent of the vote. Seiler was running against acing business owner Earl Rynerson and Chris “Captain Loogie” Brennan.
Seiler made national headlines defending a new city ordinance restricting where the homeless can be fed in public.
Homeless advocate Arnold Abbot, 90, took center stage when he was cited numerous times for ignoring the ordinance. Seiler said voters moved past that and are focused on the city’s strong economy.
“People realize we did not ban feeding the homeless in Fort Lauderdale and we did not take any 90-year-old man into custody,” said Seiler. “We just tried to preserve this great quality of life.”
Rynerson had run against Seiler three times.
Before the results came in Rynerson said, “If we had more than 20-percent of the voters of this city voting today I would beat Jack Seiler,” he predicted. He was convinced that low voter turnout would work against him. “My big concern is that 85 to 90-percent of the people will still not vote in this election and that allows cronyism and corruption to reign supreme in Fort Lauderdale.”
Nova Southeastern University Professor Charles Zelden said February primaries leading up to March elections traditionally favors the incumbent. “It’s all about turn out,” said Zelden, “about getting out your voters and easier to get out your voters in an election where nobody knows to come out and vote. There’s no noise, no extra voters.”
Zelden said one alternative is to switch the mayoral election cycle to November. Seiler said Fort Lauderdale voters rejected that idea a few years ago.
Candidates for District 3 were also on the ballot Tuesday. Commissioner Robert McKinzie, who won with 58 percent of the vote, was being challenged by Donna Guthrie and Didier Ortiz.
McKinzie was appointed to the commission seat last November to replace Bobby DuBose who won a state representative seat.