Incumbent Jay Musleh won Tuesday’s runoff election for Ocala City Council’s District 3 seat over challenger Ty Schlichter.
Musleh took 54.91% of the vote in the citywide election defeating Schlichter by a vote of 3,278 to 2,692 (45.09%), according to unofficial results from the Marion County Supervisor of Elections Office.
“It feels good,” said Musleh via phone after all 19 precincts were reported. “It feels very good. It’s a very humbling experience but also gratifying at the end—I just can’t tell you.”
Musleh received 1,104 election-day votes and 2,174 votes by mail. Schlichter received 925 election-day votes and 1,767 votes by mail.
Musleh was first elected to the seat in 2012.
Neither candidate earned a majority of votes during the Sept. 21 election, necessitating Tuesday’s runoff.
On Sept. 21, Musleh received 3,981 votes, or 43.22% of the total. Schlichter, meanwhile, received 2,788 votes, or 30.26% of the total.
Rusty Juergens placed third in the three-candidate race, receiving 2,443 votes, or 26.52% of the total.District 4
Kristen Dreyer won the other runoff election on Tuesday in the race for Ocala City Council’s District 4 seat. Dreyer defeated fellow challenger Lori Martin Gregory.
Dreyer received 52.48% of the vote in the citywide election, beating Martin Gregory by a vote of 3,116 to 2,821 (47.52%), according to unofficial results from the Marion County Supervisor of Elections Office’s website.
“Ocala elected me tonight because they are electing to move Ocala forward,” said Dreyer. “I am humbled and will work harder than anyone ever has. Thank you, Ocala. Tonight we celebrate, tomorrow we get to work!”
Dreyer received 897 election-day votes and 2,219 votes by mail, while Martin Gregory received 1,127 election-day votes and 1,694 votes by mail.
From 38,464 registered voters, 6,033 total ballots were cast on Tuesday for a voter turnout of 15.68%.
Dreyer and Martin Gregory emerged from a crowded September primary election that saw six challengers vying for the council seat.
Dreyer received the most votes in the September election with 2,822, or 30.94% of the total votes cast. Martin Gregory, meanwhile, received 2,443 votes, or 26.76% of the vote.
According to Wesley Wilcox, the Marion County Supervisor of Elections, the Ocala City Charter dictates a candidate must get at least 50% of the vote plus one extra vote in order to win an election.
Any election not resulting in a candidate receiving 50% of the vote plus one extra vote requires a runoff election between the two candidates who received the most votes.
The city council is now made up of Barry Mansfield representing District 1, Ire Bethea, Sr. representing District 2, Jay Musleh representing District 3, Kristen Dreyer representing District 4, and Jim Hilty representing District 5.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting is December 7.