City Race Highlights Conflict Within City Commission

City Race Highlights Conflict Within City Commission

The Tallahassee City Commission Seat 1 race, which has three candidates on the ballot, has shaped into a two-person race between incumbent Elaine Bryant and candidate Jack Porter.

Bryant was appointed to the City Commission in December 2018 to replace Scott Maddox. She has lived in Tallahassee for 40 years and worked in many fields, currently working as CEO of EW Bryant Associates, a consulting training firm she owns. Her campaign spotlights her professional and community experience.

Porter is a Florida State University graduate with master’s degrees in Urban and Regional Planning as well as Public Administration and Policy. She has work experience from the Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and more. According to her website, the goal of Porter’s campaign is “to fight back against special interests.”

Recently, a Florida Politics article written by publisher Peter Schorsch posed the question, “Is Jack Porter’s campaign versus Elaine Bryant what new progressivism looks like?”

Schorsch referred to Porter as “a post-millennial white woman who is seeking to unseat Elaine Bryant, a Black Tallahasseean with deep roots in the community.” He noted that Tallahassee will no longer have a “majority-minority” Commission if Porter is elected.

Schorsch also suggested that Bryant is “not radical enough for the new progressives.”

So far, both Bryant and Porter have received endorsements from many local community leaders, totaling over 50 endorsements between the two.

Bryant has received endorsements from Leon County Superintendent Rocky Hanna, former Florida State Representative Alan Williams, and former Tallahassee City Manager Anita Favors. Porter, on the other hand, has been endorsed by Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor, Florida State Representative Anna Eskamani, and former Tallahassee Mayor Debbie Lightsey.

Additionally, Mayor John Dailey has endorsed Bryant, and City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow has endorsed Porter, highlighting a conflict within the City Commission.

Dailey and Matlow have butted heads in the past, with Matlow often challenging the majority vote.

When Bryant was initially appointed to the City Commission to replace Scott Maddox, she was nominated by Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox. Williams-Cox, Commissioner Curtis Richardson, and Dailey voted in support of her. Matlow then made a motion to make the vote unanimous.

In March 2019, Bryant switched her vote on a broadband issue, dissolving the idea of establishing city-run broadband Internet. Originally, she had sided with Matlow and Williams-Cox, voting to begin searching for a firm to conduct a study on the possibility of city-run broadband. She switched her vote at the next meeting, siding with Dailey and Richardson against hiring a firm to conduct the study.

Matlow also disagreed with Dailey and other Commissioners at a lengthy Blueprint meeting in September 2019. Matlow voiced opposition to Blueprint, referring to the Blueprint process as a “sham.” Dailey pushed back against Matlow’s comments, arguing that the Commissioners had made an effort to be open with the public over the project’s many years.

In October 2019, Matlow again clashed with Dailey and the other Commissioners when he released a scathing evaluation of City Manager Reese Goad, prompting the Commissioners to pass a 4-1 ceremonial vote of confidence in Goad. Dailey, Bryant, Richardson, and Williams-Cox voted in favor, and Matlow dissented.

Goad was brought up at a City Commission Seat 1 candidate forum on July 21. Bryant and Porter disagreed on their views of Goad. Bryant spoke positively of Goad, stating that he is “doing an excellent job.” Porter, on the other hand, suggested that the community is looking for change and accountability, especially in city management and upper-level leadership, echoing sentiments that Matlow included in his evaluation.

Challenging the status quo has become a staple of Porter’s campaign, filling the role of the “outsider” in the race. Bryant, on the other hand, has emphasized her experience as Commissioner throughout her campaign, which has positioned her as the “insider.”

Ultimately, with Dailey and Matlow picking sides, the race between Bryant and Porter shines a light on a conflict within the sitting City Commission. And, because both Dailey and Matlow need support from at least two other Commissioners to pass their own agendas, the outcome of the Seat 1 race will likely play a pivotal role in future Commission’s votes.

Mail-in ballots are out now for the Seat 1 primary. To win the primary, one of the candidates needs more than 50 percent of the vote; otherwise, the race will continue to the general election on November 3.

14 Responses to "City Race Highlights Conflict Within City Commission"

  1. I voted for Jack Porter and I’m glad I did. Every single new piece of information I see reminds me that I made the right decision. I had no idea that Bryant was anti-public development. If she won’t support the development of our utilities – especially in a time where our children depend on the quality of broadband for their educational growth – why should we expect her to put our children first elsewhere? I’ve looked far and wide I have never seen a justification as to why Bryant changed her vote on the broadband initiative besides industry lobbying,

  2. Jack Porter……. have someone on your team go around and more a lot of your Signs………they are mere INCHES from the Road. They actually need to be PAST the Utility Poles, Fire Hydrants and Street Signs, which ever is farthest from the road. I’ve noticed that the City & County have been slacking a LOT they year on the campaign Signs but seriously, yours are just inches from the Road.

  3. LOL! One of my favorite sayings, “rather be poked in the eye with a sharp stick”. But Matlow’s support of Porter is enough to make me NOT vote for her. He needs a friend and he is a rabid radical. Go read some of his tweets. Between he and Hanna, Matlow is the worse of two evils IMO. No thanks.

  4. Wow. So much animosity here. I watched the debate between them and thought they both came across as very capable. I’m voting for Jack because I believe she will go to bat for our local environment. Too long politcans have not been held accountable for the environment. Maybe we need this younger generation to take over and get us in line.

    1. I saw it too and EB was not that good, she either gave short middle of the road answers or danced around the issues. She will side with Daily and Richardson and even Williams Cox just so she doesn’t have to come up with her own answer. I will bet that she will now Vote against Matlow every time now unless Daily and Richardson votes with him. She has NO real experience as a Commissioner.

  5. They are both awful, I’d rather have a poke in the eye with a sharp stick than vote for either one of them. But if Rocky Hannah supports Elaine Bryant? I’m voting for the know nothing post millennial white girl…

  6. ~ Schorsch referred to Porter as “a post-millennial white woman who is seeking to unseat Elaine Bryant, a Black Tallahasseean with deep roots in the community.” He noted that Tallahassee will no longer have a “majority-minority” Commission if Porter is elected.

    One has to wonder which “colors” this person would have used in his description, if Porter was of Asian dissent and Bryant was of Native American dissent. I remain amazed at the ignorance of those who lament “equality” and “diversity”, yet work so diligently to segregate and divide us… as if only a black person can represent black people, and only a white person can represent white people. As a “person of color”, I for one have had enough of those who seek to define us only by the level of melanin in our skin. Dr. King Jr. weeps at what has become of his “dream”.

    1. Thank you!

      Very wise words you speak…

      The focus should be on the content of the character and not the color of the skin.

  7. Watching local leftist voters speculate over which Democratic candidate is the better choice is priceless entertainment because in the end all you get is just another Democrat.
    It’s kinda like fighting over who’s BM’s are the most or least stinky.
    Priceless entertainment to quietly observe right here in the Capitol City indeed!!!

  8. Jack isn’t perfect (she is after all a Democrat like all local politicians) but she looks like someone we can count on to remove the city manager and hold the developers who are ruining Killearn accountable.

    Bryant voted to give herself a a $40,000 pay raise and she didn’t even earn the job.

    Now she wants a four year contract extension. I’m going with Jack.

  9. Porter has done a great job of appealing to moderates, conservatives and just plain common sense against the insider cabal that runs City Hall. She has the background and outlook to be effective and build coalitions to be effective.

    She has earned my vote and for now, my trust.

    1. VOTE August 18th FOR:

      Tommy Mills for Sheriff
      Bill Schack City Commission Jack Porter City Commission
      Scott Flowers County Commission
      Dee Dee Rasmussen School Board
      Marva Preston US Senate
      Angela Dempsey Judge
      Al Lawson US Congress
      Neal Dunn US Congress

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