Mayor, 93, Loses Re-Election Bid

Image: Mayor, 93, Loses Re-Election Bid

Tuesday, 08 Apr 2014 09:11 PM

By Jason Devaney

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A Florida mayor lost his bid for re-election Tuesday after a 19-term career in office.

John Land, 93, had been mayor of the Orlando suburb Apopka since 1949 and hoped to remain in office for a 20th term, but he lost to Joe Kilsheimer, 56, by a margin of 3,352 votes to 2,803, WESH reports.

The election was originally held in March, but none of the four candidates earned the required majority of votes. Land and Kilsheimer were the top vote-getters, so residents hit the polls once more in a runoff to decide who would lead their city.

Land was in office longer than any other mayor in Florida, reports the Orlando Sentinel.

Land stopped receiving a salary in 2008, when he cut that from his budget. But he did carry a significant endorsement in this election from Sen. Marco Rubio.

"I'm supporting John Land for reelection as Apopka's mayor because he supports helping everyone achieve the American dream — from farmworkers to foliage growers, from young entrepreneurs to retirees," Rubio wrote in a statement posted on Land's Facebook page.

"John Land fought for his country in the U.S. Army, built a business that employed hundreds of people, and has served Apopka as mayor with distinction.

"He's lived the American dream, and now he is trying to help the next generation live it as well. I'm proud to stand with John Land," Rubio wrote.

In a speech to his supporters Tuesday after the votes were counted, Land quoted the late Gen. George Patton.

"I wouldn't give two hoots in hell for someone who lost and laughed about it," Land said, according to the Sentinel. "All the young people here . . . who worked on the campaign here, it's been an honor to serve, I appreciate that. I love Apopka still, but I have a broken heart."

After Land's speech, the Tony Bennett song "The Good Life" started playing, the Sentinel reports. But a campaign worker quickly asked the DJ to play something with a less somber tone, so Pharrell Williams' "Happy" replaced it.

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