TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey is shooting for a second term, but he’s locked in a heated public dispute with rival Kristin Dozier – and now it’s getting increasingly personal between the two of them.
Dailey and current Leon County Commissioner Kristin Dozier have been trading blows over campaign tactics, with Dailey filing an election violation complaint over what he claims are “shady” mailers sent out on behalf of Dozier’s campaign by a group calling itself “Save Our City” – an organization which is not registered with the Florida Department of State's Division of Elections.
“Kristin Dozier’s campaign and at least one dark money political committee appear to have engaged in improper election activity in an attempt to influence your vote and put her in the mayor’s office,” Dailey said at a press conference on August 3.
According to the Tallahassee Democrat, the mailers attacked Dailey for his support of a $27 million allocation by the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency to fund repairs at Florida State University’s football stadium and political donations received around the same time from local developers.
DOZIER: DAILEY CHANGED
But in an opinion piece published today, Dozier claims that the Dailey she once knew and worked with has changed for the worse: “I served with John Dailey for eight years on the County Commission, and like many of you, I was optimistic when he was elected mayor in 2018. Unfortunately, what we’ve seen in the last four years and especially in this campaign has left most of us wondering ‘what happened to the John Dailey we knew?’”
Dozier continues: “This John Dailey, the one who thinks it’s OK to tear down a colleague, attack my family, and drag good businesses and professionals through the mud even though they have nothing to do with this campaign, is not the mayor we need or deserve.”
But Dailey seems set on defending his record as mayor. “Voters are smart,” he told Florida Politics when he presented his claims of election violations. “They know who delivered on their promise of ethics reform with a total gift ban and full financial disclosures for elected officials.”
Before Dozier can face off with Dailey over the position as mayor of Tallahassee, she needs to win the primary on Tuesday, August 23. There, she’s being challenged by businessman Michael Ibrahim and community activist Whitfield Leland, III.
Mayoral hopefuls Ibrahim and Leland have criticized Dailey’s record on crime and public safety. The city has had more than 70 shootings so far this year, which is threatening to break the current record. Ibrahim has voiced that more education is necessary to prevent gun violence, whereas Leland has pointed out that poverty and lack of creative outlets is leading to crime in the city.
“The issues we face stem from the base of poverty. If we don’t address poverty... We can create jobs, we can create homes, but if people are living in poverty and can’t afford it or don’t have a foundation, none of that is going to be helpful to the people in the area,” Leland said at a debate between the candidates in July.