Unofficial: Cynthia Chestnut wins close race in Special Runoff Election


Cynthia Chestnut won a close race in today’s Gainesville City Commission At Large, Seat B Special Runoff Election. The final unofficial tally was 6,256 votes (50.99%) for Chestnut and 6,012 votes (49.01%) for Matt Howland.

Although Chestnut won by almost 2%, the final unofficial gap was only 244 votes. The turnout was 13.63%.

  • The election yesterday was exactly what was expected by most, I think. The vast majority of Gainesville’s registered voters don’t see a reason to get out the vote. I go in and out from furious to what I see happening to total disillusion that anything will change. Does it matter? Our community has to do better. People are literally dying in the streets. The wrong people are being incarcerated and the guilty walk free. Citizen oversight is reduced to puppet boards that are there just for show. The citizens that offered their assistance are left marginalized on the sidelines while the boards go about the business of false hope that they will be listened to. The current power structure has slowly built up its internal controls through a serious lack of community engagement by hiding the issues through refusing to publish their emails (the voice of the people) to just plain ignoring even the laws that they set down before us. And we don’t care? Why? The next election cycle that we are already in is vital to our community well-being. I pray hard every day that we turn the hearts and minds around in Gainesville to really have the city in our likeness, compassionate and caring while taping the incredible human capital that we have on the sidelines. We must do better for the children and our own house.

    • People are literally dying in the streets? The wrong people are being incarcerated and the guilty walk free??
      Mr. Gardner, please elaborate on that subject and provide some facts to back that up.—- I agree with your statement that “the citizens that offered their assistance
      are left marginalized on the sidelines” because the
      CC limits citizens comments to 3min, etc. The non-publishing of their emails appears to be a
      Government in the sunshine issue that can be corrected
      And maybe our new city commissioner Cynthia Chesnut
      Will address that issue. My experience with Cynthia Chesnut has always been pleasant and I think she’s
      For letting the people participate in local government…
      I think that the mask wearing by commissioners is
      Creepy and mask efficacy is questionable. I think
      They are wearing masks as a political statement.
      I do have a problem with requiring face masks as
      A condition to address our local government. We
      Cannot communicate effectively if we cannot see
      Each others’ facial expressions. The barriers to
      Accessing our local government need to be removed and government in the sunshine is our right…
      maybe Desantis & the legislature can correct
      These problems if the CC won’t.

      • Good morning, Sherman. To elaborate… just on gun deaths: 10 in 2020 and 7 in 2021. There have been at least 4 pedestrians’ deaths, that is what prompted the “30 mile an hour” city speed limit proposal being considered right now. Another citizen and I of the city were attacked within an hour of each other by the same individual. We both called the police. He walked and I went to jail. All charges were dropped against me when the SAO realized the assailant was lying. Over 100 individuals that “could have been arrested and gone to jail” were released to the new Diversion Program. Need I go on?

      • On the emails; Florida sunshine laws are some of the most open in the country. The city of Gainesville used to post their emails within about two weeks but many members of the citycomm decided to stop “publishing” their emails a couple of years ago. You can still get them but you have to file a public records request. 3 commissioners are posting right now usually two weeks behind except Arreola posts his a little further back and doesn’t post all. Just the ones he wants you to see. Mayor Poe and others stopped posting all together. Some haven’t posted in years. It’s an individual’s choice to post or not. We’ll see how Chestnut does. My guess is she’ll fall right into limited or no posting.

    • Preach it brother! This is one of my biggest frustrations about our city. Not enough people care enough about what is being inflicted upon them to do anything about it. The vast majority are blissfully ignorant even while they gripe about their utility bills. It takes so little effort to read about the issues and why they are happening, yet I guess they don’t want to be bothered until it has a dramatic effect on their life, at which time will be way to late to change it. I would love to know how to get at least half of the people to become engaged in the topics that effect our community.

  • 13% voter turnout?? Really?? What does it take to get people to wake up and take our elections seriously?

  • 13% voter turnout?? Really?? What will it take to wake people up to take our elections seriously?

    • I voted, but I wouldn’t have if I wasn’t familiar with either candidate or had no preference. “Don’t care” is not an option on the ballot, and that is why some people don’t vote during a given election. Of course others are too lazy/worthless to show up. But some people really do have no preference in an election like this one, and not casting a ballot is probably the correct decision for them.

  • Just like with the Choices program…slipped by by about 200 votes. This is about the third time. Makes you wonder.

  • Po Boy was elected with only 11% turnout (much probably DEC, who decided his fat butt needed to sit there). The jobless wonder has no benefited one single citizen that wasn’t his crony. A massive mistake and failure.

  • How fitting an old crony returns to go down with the ship and the pending financial disaster for GRU and COG.

    • No place better to go for these imbecile commissioners except prison. If we only had proof of their crimes. Will be investigated!!! Millions to cronies and inside deals. Coming after ‘em!

  • I love ❤️ these city elections where my vote counts 7X!
    85% of city voters apparently don’t care about GRU bills or city taxes!

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