Winter Park Mayor Steve Leary has decided to withdraw from the Orange County Commission District 5 race, citing pressing family matters, he told Florida Politics Friday.
Leary’s exit leaves incumbent Orange County Commissioner Emily Bonilla seeking reelection against two challengers, Sonja Spradling and Anjali Vaya in the nonpartisan election in August.
Now that he’ll not be running for something else, Leary, 53, is set to finish his term as Winter Park Mayor in March, 2021. He was first elected to the City Commission in 2011 and was elected Mayor in 2015 in a close race. In 2018 he was reelected in a crushing landslide over Jim Fitch. As such, he’s been viewed as a rising star in Orange County Republican politics.
He said he does not intend to endorse anyone currently in the race. Instead, he said he is leaving, in part, to make room for another candidate. He declined to say whom.
District 5 covers northeastern Orange County, including the city of Winter Park and the University of Central Florida.
“I just think that family takes priority. Without going into too many specifics, it just makes sense for me to get out now while there is an