Lauren Poe defeated Mayor Ed Braddy and Donald Shepherd Sr. in Gainesville’s mayoral race on Tuesday night.
Poe garnered 57 percent of the vote. Braddy received about 40 percent and Shepherd took 3 percent of the vote, according to the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections.
“I just think I had a very good, progressive forward-thinking message and I think in Gainesville that’s what voters expect,” Poe said.
A former city commissioner from 2008 to 2011, Poe served as mayor pro-tempore in 2012.
“First thing I’m going to do is meet with the different commissioners and start rebuilding those bridges that need to be mended,” Poe said.
As a professor at Santa Fe College, he said he wants to capitalize on the talent coming out of Gainesville and the University of Florida. He said he plans to bring tech and biotech into the city’s economy, in addition to health care and higher education.
Braddy served as mayor since 2013.
“A lot of nasty campaigning was done,” Braddy said. “We ran a great campaign. We kept the high road even though the low road was taken, and sadly we still live in a political culture gets results.”
He said issues like the city’s homeless population and Dignity Village have had mixed success.
At Braddy’s watch party, District 2 City Commissioner Todd Chase said the mayoral race had shaken him personally.
“I believe in salvation more than persecution,”Chase said. “He has been a very good mayor. He has done good things for this city. I’m proud to have served with him.”
At the watch party, Debbie Martinez wore a T-shirt with ‘Democrats for Braddy for Mayor’ emblazoned on the front. She said Braddy was the right choice.
“He brought our community together when we needed it the most — when GRU bills went sky high,” she said. “He’s worked so hard over the last few years.”
Scott Austin, 23, a telecommunications major at UF and Braddy’s campaign manager, said it was a team effort.
“This is a big race for an incumbent,” he said.
Shepherd, who also ran for mayor in 2013, said he feels like his arrest may have hindered the election results.
Shepherd was arrested in January for grand theft auto. His next court appearance is April 11.