In a break from tradition, two Tallahassee City Commissioners are publicly supporting an effort to defeat a colleague, City Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox.
Seldom – if ever – have two elected officials from the same political party, serving on the Tallahassee City Commission, publicly teamed up to target a colleague.
When asked about the situation, City Commissioner Jeremy Matlow told Tallahassee Reports the approach is about policy.
“In the face of no-bid land deals, questionable procurements, and the reckless $27 million taxpayer giveway for Doak stadium improvements, we’re supporting all candidates who will bring ethical reform and fiscal accountability to local government,” said Matlow.
Jon Ausman, a local political analyst and the longest serving member of the Democratic National Committee in Florida’s history, told Tallahassee Reports that these kind of efforts are usually done behind the scenes. (Disclosure – Ausman has endorsed Williams-Cox.)
“This is a rare occurrence. In most instances it is a case of fellow commissioners coming to the defense of a colleague threatened by a challenger,” noted Ausman.
“In the past when a sitting commissioner launched an attack against another up for re-election it was normally done sub rosa behind trusted allies who would attempt to defeat the target without exposing the initiating commissioner,” said Ausman
In contrast, the efforts by Matlow and Porter are very public.
The duo is providing campaign help to Adner Marcelin, who has said he is challenging Williams-Cox because of her vote to fund FSU stadium upgrades and his belief that she voted to militarize the Tallahassee Police Department.
Matlow and Porter have formally endorsed Marcelin.
Also, both Matlow and Porter are featured on mailers supporting Marcelin and are active in helping with campaign activities.
Provided nearby is a picture of Matlow and Porter, shared on social media by a campaign volunteer, making calls to unseat Williams-Cox.
The caption on the social media post by the volunteer reads, “Today is a great day to make phone calls for Jeremy Matlow and Adner Marcelin for Tallahassee City Commission !! Join Jack, me, and other Dems from 3-7 pm at Dreamland BBQ!! Let us know if you can join us please.”
And just this past Friday, City Commissioner Jack Porter was promoting Marcelin at a political rally and her participation has been used to create a campaign video.
Ausman notes that Matlow and Porter are focused on taking control of the Tallahassee City Commission – a commission that has produced a number of 3-2 votes over the last two years.
“In order to create a majority to implement a shared agenda, Mr. Matlow and Ms. Porter have recruited a candidate to defeat Ms. Williams-Cox. They are openly campaigning for this candidate. There is great risk in this maneuver. If unsuccessful it may foreshadow their own doom. If successful it will give them control of the Commission,” said Ausman.
For information on the race, TR’s story is here: City Commission Seat 5: Two Candidates Challenge Dianne Williams-Cox