Since no one in the four-way race won more than 50 percent of the
vote, John Land, the mayor of Apopka, will face Joe Kilsheimer, a
city commissioner and former newspaper reporter, in an April 8
Land has only lost one election over the last 64 years. He was
defeated in 1967 when he failed to overcome criticism he had served
long enough as mayor after 18 years.
Kilsheimer led in Tuesday's election with 2,354 votes, or 48 percent
of total votes cast to Land's 1,905 votes, of 38 percent of the
total, according to unofficial election results.
In this year's vote, the city's ban on most Sunday liquor sales has
emerged as a key issue. Land's opponents want to lift the ban in
line with surrounding municipalities while Land has said he wants to
form a committee to study the issue.
Research by the Orlando Sentinel newspaper, which covers Apopka,
indicated that Land is both the oldest U.S. mayor and Florida's
longest-serving mayor. He has run for office unopposed since 2002.
"I'm not going to rest on my laurels," Land said late last year when
he filed his candidate paperwork.
Land said Apopka's growth from an agricultural community into the
second largest-city in Orange County after Orlando, with a
population of 45,000, demonstrates the effectiveness of his
Land first won office in 1949 after discharge from the Army
following World War II, when Apopka was a farming town of 2,254
people operating on a $31,000 budget. He oversaw the initial paving
of local roads and the installation of the first sewer system.
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Today, Apopka's budget tops $66 million. The city drew international
attention in 2001 when a baseball team from Apopka played in the
Little League World Series, losing 2-1 to a team from Tokyo before a
crowd that included then-President George W. Bush.
Land's mayoral salary reached $153,000 annually in 2007 just as the
recession hit. Starting in 2008, he waived his salary and started
working for free, according to the city personnel office.
(Editing by Kevin Gray, Steve Orlofsky and Lisa Shumaker)
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