Tucked deep inside the Park Plaza Gardens restaurant off Park Avenue on Aug. 14, Ted Edwards had no idea he was reelected to the Orange County District 5 seat until a call congratulating him from County Mayor Teresa Jacobs confirmed it.
“It’s been a great race. It’s great to have the voters come out and show their support,” he said, gesturing to the crowded room in front of him.
Edwards and opponent Gina Duncan have been duking it out since she put in her bid for District 5 in January. But Edwards scored 59 percent of the votes, leaving Duncan with 40 percent. Edwards has led the district that covers Winter Park, Maitland and east Orange County through two non-consecutive terms. He said there will still be much work to be done in Winter Park and Maitland during his third term.
“It’s really just about preserving quality of life there, protecting the environment and protecting neighborhoods,” he said.
As far as long-term goals, Edwards said he’ll focus on bringing better transportation to the county through SunRail and by seeing that the massive widening of East Colonial Drive in east Orange continues to move along. He said he’ll also continue working on improving the quality of life in Bithlo.
Before the results were in, Duncan said that the small business task force she’s been working on to help business owners in the county become more knowledgeable about the tools at their disposal could come to fruition no matter the outcome of the race. She could not be reached for comment after the results were in.
After visiting the businesses along Park Avenue she said, “There was a gap in knowing the financing that’s available.”
Maitland resident Renee Stein Charlan said she’s excited Edwards will continue leading the county.
“He gets things done for our county,” she said. “He’s very supportive of the whole arts community. He’s very fiscally responsible.”
Plenty of political friends of the commissioner came to celebrate the win. Former District 5 Commissioner Bill Segal was there waiting for the votes to come in. Maitland Council Member Ivan Valdes said he came to support Edwards because of the partnership he’s cultivated with the city.
“He helped create the language that put an end to those bogus veteran casinos that were wasting away seniors’ retirements,” he said. “He’s been very supportive to us in the City of Maitland. We’re partners.”