Victoria Siplin and Derrick Wallace are set to face-off in November’s general election as to who will represent the residents of District 6 in Orange County.
They are two of the likeliest/unlikeliest foes to emerge from the D6 race that featured six candidates. From the beginning, we heard that Derrick Wallace would attempt to buy his way into the winner’s circle, an assertion that proved to be right on the surface.
There was talk that D6 would reject the last name Siplin and put the final nail in the coffin of black Orlando’s burgeoning political dynasty. But, it wasn’t to be.
Victoria Siplin had rockets attached to her heels as she garnered nearly 4,000 votes. Her opponent on November 4th, Derrick Wallace, was eight percentage points behind with 2,813 votes.
Something will have to give, right?
But which potential politician has enough gas left in the tank to pick off the support of the other four former candidates?
That’s a loaded answer.
Wallace raised $169,858 during the primary. He spent $60 per vote to bully his way into the general. Compare that to the $21,302 raised by Siplin, and she ended up spending just $5 per vote. Ostensibly, it looks like Siplin’s name and street team connected more with voters than Wallace.
The other four, Lawanna Gelzer, Roberta Walton, Virginia Whittington, and Homer Hartage, received a collective total of 6,741 votes and raised closed to $170,000. That’s a decent number because its more votes than both Siplin and Wallace received but less money.
Taking the numbers out of the equation, this race will come down to the candidate who has the best ground game. Oh, and who can turn the most absentee ballots.
As Wallace has learned, and the experienced Siplin knows, candidate forums, TV appearances, press releases, and anything media related is no real path to victory. For the most dense areas in the district, voters respond best to direct contact/connection; not superficial attempts to gain their affection.
In D6’s more active precincts, such as 624 through 630, Siplin and Wallace ran up the score in a few of those areas. In 626 alone, Siplin and Wallace caught 599 total votes. The others got just 274 combined.
If the race is to be won in just one district, which it isn’t, the candidate who can take in the areas surrounding Bruton, Columbia, and some of Raleigh may end up taking Election Day.
But while the battle seemed to take place in the higher numbered precincts in District 6, Siplin racked her votes from precincts 602 through 611. It will be up to Wallace’s team to wedge some of that support from Siplin or hope to knock off enough of the support from the other four candidates to make-up the vote difference.
This race, more than anything, is the quintessential example of how black politics is run in Orlando. There were accusations of voter fraud, vote gathering, voter intimidation, and any other salacious word that we may pair with voter.
There were plenty of forums held but Wallace and Siplin attended them sparingly. We saw signs of fish fries and barbeques for voters to come out and “meet the candidate.” Nothing out of the ordinary but nothing that broke the mold.
Look for the same lineage leading up to November 4th. The organization that hosts the next forum may want to invite more than just Wallace and Siplin as gusts as neither are likely to show. That time may be spent knocking doors or calling voters in their eyes.
The undervotes on Primary Election Day was 635 for District 6. Come general, that number may spike at least 15 percent as some voters are grumbling that their choices are limited.
The candidate who can turn those potential no votes into “hold your nose” votes will end up taking the reins of District 6 for the next four years.
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