Mayor Craig Lowe’s political future may be in question with his recent arrest overshadowing the April 16 mayoral runoff election.
The mayor was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol this morning.
With the election a little over three weeks away, UF Emeritus Professor Joseph Little said Lowe has time to mend his public image. Little said the charge doesn’t mean people won’t vote for him. He said time is essential because it gives voters a chance to think it through.
Although Little believes voters can be forgiving, Susan MacManus, a professor at the University of South Florida in the Department of Government and International Affairs, said repeated incidents among elected officials can turn away voters in the future.
“The danger is sometimes when you see the frailty of candidates and shortcomings, it does tamp down turnout,” MacManus said.
In cases like this, MacManus said, it is important that the candidates are transparent with the voters because people hold elected officials to a higher standard.
“They have to admit that they were at fault, and they need to talk about how they’re going to deal with it going forward,” MacManus said.
Robert Rush, a criminal trial lawyer, said once Lowe is released, he needs to get legal council and get his facts down so he can address the situation as quickly as possible.
“It certainly will cause a lot more scrutiny, and a lot of people are watching what happens, but the fact is like any other citizen, he’s presumed innocent,” Rush said.
Kyle Rothenberg, Maggie Schwartzman and Larissa Scott contributed reporting.