In a Boss Tweed’esque move, District 4 Orange County Commissioner Thompson is paying off an old political debt.
By Jacob Engels
It’s no secret, that we here at the East Orlando Post are not fond of Orange County Commissioner Jennifer Thompson.
The construction on Alafaya is delayed, causing accidents – it’s not her fault. When progress is made on the project “See, look what I did”, she proclaims. As a sitting commissioner, she destroys public records after sending illegal communications to a lobbyist with business before the Commission – “My bad, I forgot what they taught us about sunshine law during orientation.” One day she is accepting large campaign checks from developers, the next rallying against more development.
I could go on, but you get the point – she makes herself an easy target by wanting credit for the good and not for the bad, routinely acts as if she is above the law and is against something before she is for it and vice-verse.
So, when the latest round of appointments were made to the Orange County Charter Review Commission, it was no surprise to see Commissioner Thompson willingly placing the bulls-eye on her back, AGAIN.
The CRC, which meets every four years to decide about potential adjustments to place before voters, allows each County Commissioner to nominate two individuals from their district to serve on the review board. And just who did Jennifer Thompson appoint from her district? None other than Maribel Gomez-Cordero, her former opponent in the August 26th elections this past summer.
Gomez, who ran as a Democrat, was a registered Republican up until a day before the filing deadline. In a non-partisan race, that’s an odd thing to do unless something foul is afoot. Gomez-Cordero, who raised under $2,000 in 8 months of campaigning, and rarely held public events, was seen by many as a spoiler candidate who Thompson convinced to run in order to split the Hispanic voter between Gomez-Cordero and Democrat Euri Cerrud.
Suddenly before the filing deadline, Gomez-Cordero coughed up the $3,000 filing fee to qualify, raising eyebrows considering her fundraising history and modest yearly income. Gomez-Cordero would go on to place second against Thompson, and ahead of Cerrud. Democratic polling following the filing deadline showed Gomez-Cordero siphoning the Hispanic vote from fellow Hispanic candidate Cerrud, as Thompson planned…it seems.
Fast forward to late last week, and we get the news that Thompson has selected her one time rival to serve on the Charter Review Commission – how convenient. While some might praise Thompson for appointing a previous opponent to an important board like the CRC, it reeks of a political quid pro quo.
I can only imagine the text messages between these two….
JT – Thanks so much for doing THAT THING this summer for me.
MGC – NP! It’s kinda cool being a Democrat.
JT – You know what? I need to secure Hispanic support for down the road, how do you feel about serving on the Charter Review Commission?
MGC – I’m down! BTW, we need to go shoe shopping again.
JT – I’ll be like Abe Lincoln, you know? Appointing my rivals and shit like that.
And the rest was just girl talk….
Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. He is a seasoned political operative who has led numerous statewide political groups and has worked on several high-profile local, statewide, and national races. Jacob has been interviewed on national television & radio programs, with his work having been featured in the Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald and other publications nationwide. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org