Underdogs gain ground

City Commission candidate Andrew Gillum entered the room to a round of applause from about 50 supporters at the St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church.

“All praise be to God,” said Gillum, who advanced to the Feb. 25 run-off for the city commission seat he vied for.

Gillum edged by former Leon County Commissioner Bob Henderson and took the second position in the seat 2 run-off against Morgan Stanley Financial Adviser Mayo Woodward.

“There were so many people that said we couldn’t do it when we started 30 days ago,” Gillum told his supporters. “I have all of you to thank for it.”

Gillum and Anthony “Dr. V.” Viegbesie, candidate for city commission seat 3, were the only two candidates with FAMU ties to advance past the general elections. Viegbesie, an adjunct professor, is challenging incumbent Debbie Lightsey in the run-off.

John Marks got a little closer to the mayor’s seat with 43.1 percent of the vote, facing current City Commissioner John Paul Bailey in the mayoral run-off.

“I’m elated,” said Marks, who said he’ll step up his efforts to cruise into the mayor’s chair. “It was more than we expected. We’re gonna enjoy what we got here.”

Bailey said though he lagged on Tuesday by 16 percentage points with 27.2 percent of the vote count, he expects a win in the run-off.

“I’m in a better position than I was then,” said Bailey, who overcame a 25 percentage point deficit to become a city commissioner in 1996.

Mark Mustian won city commission seat 1 outright with about 52 percent of the vote. He will take the seat of outgoing commissioner Steve Meisburg, who ran an unsuccessful campaign for mayor. FAMU senior Justin Proctor, who declared candidacy in December, took in 8 percent of the votes.

Debbie Lightsey came up eight-tenths of a point shy of avoiding a run-off with second place finisher Viegbesie. Majority vote requires a 50 percent vote count for one candidate to be determined winner. Lightsey took in 49.1 percent of the vote while Viegbesie came away with 30.2 percent.