Several supporters of Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe say they will continue to support him despite his recent arrest for suspicion of DUI.
“My support for him as a city leader still remains strong,” said Helen Warren, a Gainesville realtor. “In this life that we live, we all have situations in which we aren’t perfect.”
She said everyone makes errors on occasion in judgement. Still, Lowe received the DUI suspicion charge during a pivotal time in his political career. On April 16, he will run against Ed Braddy in a runoff election.
WUFT looked at 465 contributors from Lowe’s campaign treasurer’s report who donated between July 25, 2012 and March 14, 2013. Reporters called 14 people selected randomly to see how they felt about the mayor and the upcoming election. Of those contacted, only four people were interviewed. The others either did not answer or declined to comment.
George Williams, of Gainesville, said he felt extreme disappointment when he heard the news, and his enthusiasm for Lowe was dampened. Another Gainesville resident, Caron Cadle, said the accident was both stupid and irresponsible.
Each supporter also noted that Braddy has had a similar run-in with the law. In 2006, he was arrested on suspicion of DUI.
“They’ve both been caught doing it,” Cadle said. “If that was a factor, we wouldn’t have a candidate.” She suggested the men learn to call a taxi.
Williams said he feels each man’s arrest may discourage people from voting all together.
“People not voting for Lowe’s opponent may now be disappointed in him, and not even vote at all,” he said.
Celeste Shitama jokingly said if she wasn’t going to vote for Lowe, who else would she vote for?
“It doesn’t look good, obviously, but it’s too late for someone else to step up,” she said.
Of the supporters WUFT reached, none said he/she wouldn’t vote for Lowe in the runoff election. Warren said she believes Lowe’s past leadership as city commissioner and his vision for the city of Gainesville still make him the best candidate.
“We have a vision for a sustainable community,” she said. “Those principles are the values that I think Craig holds stronger than any other individual running for mayor at this time.”
Warren suggested undecided voters consider the issues each candidate supports ahead of the April 16 runoff, as opposed to their poor life decisions.
[The treasurer's report shows that the largest contribution to Lowe's campaign was $2,500 by the Florida Democratic Party and the smallest was a $10 individual contribution. The total amount of contributions made was $33,538.69. The total campaign expenditures equal $29,371.12.]