Marciano will be Ocala’s next mayor, and Dreyer will remain on city council

Ben Marciano, Kristen Dreyer

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Posted July 14, 2023 | By Jennifer Hunt Murty

There were three seats open in the city of Ocala government this election cycle: two are on the city council and the mayoral seat. The qualifying period ended at noon today, and two of those seats are now decided because the candidates drew no opposition.

Only one person, Ben Marciano, filed to run for mayor. Kent Guinn, who has served as the city’s mayor for 12 years, had announced in April that he would not be seeking reelection.

Marciano drew considerable support. At least 82 individuals or businesses, some related, contributed the maximum amount of $1,000 to his campaign. Combined with another 100 contributors, Marciano brought in a total of $110,200, according to the last financial report filed with the supervisor of elections.

Marciano also drew endorsements from the Professional Fire Fighters of Ocala as well as for Marion County, and Ocala’s Fraternal Order of Police.

“I’m blown away. It’s humbling after all I’ve been through in life to embark on this next chapter,” Marciano said.

Marciano told the “Gazette” that he recently sat down to talk about the mayoral role with Guinn, and they made a commitment to work together through the transition.

The “Gazette” asked Guinn if he had any advice for the city’s incoming mayor, and Guinn offered the same advice he says he received from former Mayor Gerald Ergle. “Don’t think you’re as important as others think you are.”

Marciano’s term will begin Dec. 5.

City councilmember Kristin Dreyer also did not draw an opponent and will continue a second term as a council member. Dreyer received $19,000 in campaign contributions.

“As I stand, unopposed, for a second term on the city council, I am immensely grateful for the trust you have placed in me, and I look forward to the privilege of serving you once again. Together, let us continue the journey of progress, leaving a lasting legacy for generations to come,” Dreyer wrote in a statement to the “Gazette.”

City councilmember Ire Bethea has drawn one opponent, Reginald Landers. That seat will be decided in a Sept. 19 election.

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