Jack Seiler has won reelection as Fort Lauderdale mayor for a third straight term. With polls closing at 7 p.m. Tuesday, New Times is reporting that Seiler has won a decisive victory over opponents Earl Rynerson and Chris Brennen, getting 70.85 percent of the votes.
Robert L. McKinzie, meanwhile, has been declared the winner for the open commission seat in District III.
Seiler had appeared vulnerable entering Tuesday night's election, following a public relations beating over his handling of the city's homeless feeding ordinance.
The ordinance passed by the city last October put restrictions, such as requiring hand-washing stations and port-o-potties, on groups that serve the homeless food. But the restrictions severely limited groups from feeding the homeless, and breaking the ordinance came with a citation and possible jail time.
Since the ordinance was passed late last year, Seiler had become the face of homeless discrimination across the U.S. when news broke that 90-year-old homeless advocate Arnold Abbott had been cited several times for feeding homeless people on Fort Lauderdale Beach.
While the intention seemed good on the outside, the overall result was an elderly World War II vet getting cited and being forced by cops to stop feeding the homeless. The story made national headlines, and Seiler was seen as a homeless-hating politician.
In November, Seiler tried to explain that the real mistake was in getting the message out on what the city was actually trying to do with the ordinance.
Still, as expected, Seiler won reelection, handily beating 33-year-old Brennan, who garnered a surprising 15 percent of the vote and came in second. Coming in third was Seiler's old political nemesis Rynerson, who received 13 percent of the vote.
Meanwhile, Robert L. McKinzie, brother of former Supervisor of Elections Miriam Oliphant, has been elected commissioner for District III, defeating Donna Guthrie and Didier Ortiz.
McKinzie, who was once campaign director for the United Way of Broward County, was picked to serve out the remainder of former commissioner Bobby B. DuBose's term in November.