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    Orlando's voters to choose new mayor on Feb. 4

    Glenda Hood is resigning to become secretary of state. So far, five candidates are interested in running.

    ©Associated Press
    December 24, 2002

    ORLANDO -- The City Commission on Monday set Feb. 4 for an election to replace Mayor Glenda Hood, who is resigning next month to become Florida secretary of state.

    A runoff contest, if needed, was scheduled for Feb. 25.

    Hood also submitted her letter of resignation, effective Feb. 26.

    The vote setting the date was 5-2. Commissioners Daisy Lynum and Patty Sheehan voted against the date, saying they wanted more time for candidates to compete in the special election and to give prospective candidates an opportunity to qualify for the race with petitions.

    Lynum said she was concerned that a hasty election calendar makes it more difficult for overseas voters to cast ballots.

    "I think there is something wrong here," Lynum said.

    Over the weekend, Sheehan had said Hood should step aside so Lynum could be interim mayor. The city's charter provides for the "first mayor pro tem" to take over in the absence of the elected mayor. That largely ceremonial title usually rotates among council members, and Lynum has held it since June. Lynum would have been the city's first black mayor had Hood chosen to resign before the election.

    "The mayor should not be trying to block the appointment of the city's first African-American mayor," Sheehan said.

    Hood said she didn't see a need to step aside.

    "I'm here. I'm mayor," Hood said.

    At least five candidates have said they plan to run for mayor: advertising executive Pete Barr Sr., Orange County Commissioner Homer Hartage, attorney Tico Perez, developer and attorney Wayne Rich, and attorney Bill Sublette, a former state lawmaker.

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