Skip to main content
Winter Park / Maitland Observer Wednesday, Jul. 25, 2018 1 year ago

Winter Park Chamber set to host Political Mingle and Straw Poll

The event will feature 22 elected officials and candidates.
by: Tim Freed Managing Editor

In preparation for the Aug. 28 primary, the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce will offer a chance to meet candidates in many of the area’s races.

Residents will have a chance to mingle with candidates running for state and county office at the 2018 Winter Park Chamber of Commerce Political Mingle and Straw Poll, which takes place from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 1, at Fields BMW of Winter Park, 963 M. Wymore Road.

The event ties into the chamber’s mission, Winter Park chamber President and CEO Betsy Gardner Eckbert said.

“It’s a great, efficient way for people to meet candidates and kind of make up their own minds of how they want to vote,” Gardner Eckbert said. “Our mission is to convene people and ideas for the benefit of our businesses and our community, so it’s directly driven by our mission. We want to bring people together for issues that matter. Who we elect really matters — not only to Winter Park but to Orange County.

“To facilitate the opportunity for people to meet all those candidates by themselves and to be able to communicate with them directly is really important,” she said.

One of the most significant parts of the mingle is the straw poll. Guests will have the chance to vote on official sample ballots from Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles. The poll not only gives candidates a chance to see how they are doing leading up to election time, but also it reinforces the act of voting for residents, Gardner Eckbert said.

“Voting is such an important Constitutional freedom that we exercise,” she said. “Anything that encourages voting and voter turnout is a really great thing. Voting is a directly correlated activity to making your community better. When you vote a lot, you have a better community.”

The chamber has hosted the event — known by many residents as the “hobnob” — for decades. It’s also an event that comes at a critical time for candidates.

“Most candidates budget for this event when they start out,” she said. “My mom was a candidate several times, and she would put the hobnobs on the calendar and plan back from those.”


U.S. Representative, District 7

  • Mike Miller


Chief Financial Officer

  • Jeremy Ring


State Representative, District 30

  • Representative Bob Cortes


State Representative, District 47

  • Anna Eskamani
  • Mikaela Nix


Orange County Mayor

  • Pete Clarke
  • Jerry Demings
  • Rob Panepinto


Orange County Sheriff

  • John Mina


Orange County School Board Chair

  • Matthew Fitzpatrick
  • Teresa Jacobs
  • Nancy Robbinson


Orange County School Board, District 1

  • Angela Gallo
  • Heather Traynham


Orange County School Board, District 6

  • Karen Castor Dentel


County Judgeship, Group 11

  • The Honorable Adam McGinnis
  • Dori Miller Rivas


Ninth Judicial Circuit Judge, Group 15

  • Jeff Ashton
  • Howard Friedman


Ninth Judicial Circuit Judge, Group 26

  • Tom Young


Ninth Judicial Circuit Judge, Group 41

  • Dean Mosley
  • Laura Shaffer


Tim Freed was the managing editor for the West Orange Times & Observer and the Southwest Orange Observer. He previously spent six years covering the Winter Park/Maitland area and is a graduate of the University of Central Florida.


See All Articles by Tim

Related Stories