Eastman wins city seat, 2 others go to runoffs

City of Gainesville commissioner candidate Ed Book (middle at computer) looks over election results at a Tuesday watch party.
City of Gainesville commissioner candidate Ed Book (middle at computer) looks over election results at a Tuesday watch party. (Photo by Megan Winslow)

Gainesville District 4 voters selected Bryan Eastman as their next city commissioner, but the District 2 and District 3 races won’t be settled until November, according to the unofficial Alachua County election results.

Bryan Eastman (second from right), at an election watch party on Tuesday, won the City of Gainesville District 4 seat
Photo by Seth Johnson Bryan Eastman (second from right), at an election watch party on Tuesday, won the City of Gainesville District 4 commission seat.

Ed Book and James Ingle will face off in the District 2 runoff, while Dejeon Lamar Cain and Casey Willits will compete for the District 3 seat.

Willits, a residency program coordinator at UF’s College of Medicine, came closest to winning outright, capturing 49.06% of the vote in District 3 with Cain, the owner of a security company, garnering 35.63% of the support. Patrick O. Ingle, a retired software engineer, trailed the frontrunners with 15.30%.

City redistricting moved Cain – originally in the District 4 race – to District 3, and moved Book and Jo Lee Beaty from District 3 to District 2.

In District 2, Book, the police chief at Santa Fe College, lead the four-person field with 39.77% followed by Ingle, an electrician and union president, with 27.25% of the vote. Beaty, an educator and administrator, earned 18.04% of the vote while Michael Raburn, a pastor at Gainesville Vineyard, got 14.95%.

The runoffs will be on the general election ballot on Nov. 8.

Gainesville commission candidate Dejeon Lamar Cain watches election results with supports on Tuesday.
Photo by Seth Johnson Gainesville commission candidate Dejeon Lamar Cain (in green shirt) watches election results with supporters on Tuesday.

Eastman, owner of a political website builder site, collected 53.12% of the vote in District 2 to Newman’s 46.88%. Newman, a wildlife biologist, was within 89 votes of Eastman in election day voting and won early in-person voting by 52 but couldn’t overcome Eastman’s 300-plus lead in vote-by-mail ballots.

This was the first fall commission election. City voters chose in 2018 to move the election from annual spring contests to every other year elections that coincide with the state elections.

Part of the reason for moving the election was to increase turnout. Approximately 10.65% of voters cast ballots in the 2021 city election, which had an at-large commission seat along with a District 1 race on the ballot.

This year, more than 12,000 people voted by mail or in early in-person voting at city precincts than in the whole of the 2021 contest (9,666).

District 2 boasted the highest number of voters with 9,387 ballots cast. The District 4 race had 5,552 votes, while District 3 was decided with fewer than 2,000 votes at 1,869.

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