The Network of Entrepreneurs and Business Advocates (NEBA) hosted a Tallahassee mayoral debate on Tuesday at the Capital City Country Club.
Approximately 170 people attended the forum which lasted about an hour and featured four candidates, which included current Mayor John Dailey, current Leon County Commissioner Kristin Dozier, Michael Ibrahim and Whitfield Leland.
The straw poll – which was open to only NEBA members – was won by Dailey who garnered 65% of the vote while Dozier finished a distant second with 21%. Ibrahim finished third with 13% of the vote and Leland finished fourth with 1%.
In the past, these NEBA forums have favored moderate to conservative candidates. During the last mayoral cycle NEBA forum, Dailey won the straw poll.
The attendance to the forum was double the normal attendance to the monthly luncheon. This can be attributed to the anticipated match-up between Dailey and Dozier, who have each held public office for over 10 years.
However, the expectation of fireworks between the two Democratic politicians never really materialized.
Tallahassee Reports talked to a number of people who attended the forum and provided below is a summary of their general impressions:
-Mayor John Dailey demonstrated more energy and displayed a high level of confidence when discussing his position on the issues.
-The only major difference between Dailey and Dozier appeared to be the vote on the use of Blueprint economic development funds for the FSU stadium improvements. Dozier, who voted against funding the project, said that this is the main reason she is running.
Dailey defended his vote for the use of economic development funds for FAMU and FSU by stating that Tallahassee is a higher education town and we need to support our partners
-Dozier addressed the civility issue. She criticized Dailey for being angry when people dare to question ideas in the public space.
-Dozier, who supports Blueprint, voiced concern over the provision that allows for 12% of the sales tax to be used for economic development projects. She said the economic development allocation has become a slush fund.
-On ethics, Dailey took credit for changes that have been implemented since he took office. Dozier noted that more needed to be done.
-Attendees were expecting more confrontation between Dailey and Dozier However, the inclusion of the other two candidates made it impossible for the two front runners to engage in a true debate on the issues.