Iliana Ramos Jones unseats Ron Mueller in runoff for Winter Garden City Commission District 2

Jones’ victory came by just 57 votes.

Iliana Ramos Jones garnered 52.61% of the vote Tuesday, April 16, to win the runoff election for the Winter Garden City Commission District 2 seat.
Iliana Ramos Jones garnered 52.61% of the vote Tuesday, April 16, to win the runoff election for the Winter Garden City Commission District 2 seat.
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Following months of campaigning, unprecedented endorsements and intense polarization, Winter Garden District 2 voters finally have selected their next representative on the City Commission.

In a runoff Tuesday, April 16, challenger Iliana Ramos Jones defeated incumbent Ron Mueller by the slimmest of margins — 57 votes.

 According to the Orange County Supervisor of Elections’ unofficial results, Jones received 574 votes (52.61%), while Mueller garnered 517 votes (47.39%).

Jones thanked the voters who supported her.

“Glory be to God,” Jones said. “I am incredibly grateful for your support in the recent District 2 commission election. Your trust in me is deeply appreciated. I am committed to serving our community with dedication and integrity. Together, let’s work toward a brighter future for Winter Garden.”

Mueller did not respond to repeated requests for comment. However, he issued a statement on his campaign's Facebook page.

"As we conclude this election cycle, we embrace Iliana Ramos Jones as our chosen commissioner-elect," he wrote. "I have personally reached out to congratulate Commissioner-Elect Jones and have offered my fullest support to assist her during this transition—a courtesy and commitment aimed at preserving the integrity of the office and ensuring continuity of service to all our residents.

"Commissioner-Elect Jones now stands ready to serve every member of our community," Mueller wrote. "I encourage each of you to extend to her the same patience, support and kindness you graciously afforded me when I began my tenure. Her success is our community's success, and she merits our collective encouragement as she endeavors to fulfill her responsibilities.

"Reflecting on the past three years, I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity to serve such an exceptional community," he wrote. "Winter Garden's rich cultural diversity and the deep bonds of friendship I have experienced here are truly special. It has been a privilege to contribute to our community's growth and to witness our collective achievements."

Jones’ victory came less than a month after the March 19 municipal election and by similar numbers. In that election, Jones had 247 election-day votes, 151 early votes and 189 vote-by-mail, which accounted for 587 votes (48.04%). Mueller had 137 election-day votes, 182 early votes and 193 vote-by-mail, totaling 512 votes (41.90%). 

A third candidate, Danny “DJ” Culberson, had 40 election-day votes, 38 early votes and 45 vote-by-mail, for a total of 123 votes (10.07%).

However, because no candidate received 50% of the vote, the election continued to Tuesday’s runoff.

Before the municipal election, the rest of the City Commission — Mayor John Rees and commissioners Lisa Bennett, Colin Sharman and Mark A. Maciel — all endorsed Jones. Their endorsements came after the commission considered holding a forfeiture hearing for Mueller regarding potential violations of the City Charter. Those violations stemmed from evidence that Mueller had communicated directly with city staff instead of through the city manager. The commission in January voted not to hold the hearing.

The week before the runoff, Culberson announced via social media he was endorsing Mueller.


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