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Upfront

Orange County races to watch

County's municipal stakes bring the backyard controversy

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"I am the only candidate that is endorsed by law enforcement," says Tegg, a former police chief in Belle Isle and Edgewood. "Everyone in law enforcement that has worked for him has endorsed me. I think that's a huge statement."

Orange County Commission District 3: Lui Damiani vs Pete Clarke

Though not a partisan battle, this cycle's lone county commission race, between Lui Damiani and Pete Clarke, isn't devoid of controversy. Damiani points to his previous experience working as Commissioner of District 3 as his major qualification for the role. "To me the most important thing is that I am former County Commissioner," Damiani told the Orlando Sentinel editorial board earlier this year. "I served in the role, I have a track record, a proven track record for which I am very, very proud."

Appointed by then-Governor Charlie Crist after the arrest of former Commissioner Mildred Fernandez on charges of bribery in 2010, Damiani served the county for more than a year before Governor Rick Scott appointed current District 3 Commissioner, John Martinez. Widely held as the obvious front-runner for the position, Damiani's campaign has been afforded the luxury of financial backing of attorneys, developers and lobbyists.

But it might just be that kind of monetary leg-up that is fueling the candidate's opposition. Even the primary losers are now backing relative unknown Clarke as their candidate of choice, citing Mayor Teresa Jacobs' recent involvement in selective text-message deletion as reasoning behind their support. Damiani would likely bring more of the same, they say. And the same doesn't look so good these days.

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