After a tightly contested race in the Ocala City Council election this fall, Tuesday’s run-off election will determine a winner in Districts 3 and 4.
The city council runoff election takes place on November 16, and will pit the top two finishers in both races against each other. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
In the bid for District 3, incumbent Jay Musleh faces off against Ty Schlicther. During the September 21 election, Musleh garnered around 43% of the vote with just under 4,000 (3,981), and Schlichter received just over 30% of the vote with 2,788.
In District 4, Kristen Dreyer and Lori Martin Gregory will go head-to-head. Dreyer previously received just under 31% of the votes cast (2,822), while Gregory finished with just under 27% of the votes (2,443).
Earlier this month, the NAACP Marion County hosted a forum with three of the four candidates, as Schlichter was unable to attend. During the forum, the candidates discussed their backgrounds and why they should be elected.
Gregory highlighted her 40 years of business experience, which includes being a fourth-generation journalist, earning a Master of Business Administration degree at Boston University, establishing a career on Wall Street, and working in investor relations with biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. She is also the CEO of 7th Chakra Films, based in Ocala.
“It’s a privilege to be in Ocala and raise my son here,” said Gregory during the forum. “Family, faith, and freedom are the values that I was raised on, and that came from right here. Nothing would be a greater honor for me than to serve as your next city council member for District 4.”
Dreyer indicated that she has lived in Ocala for the past 20 years. She graduated from the University of Central Florida, and has worked with AmeriCorps and in mental health at an alternative school. Dreyer also served on the board of her child’s preschool, worked as a real estate agent, and has participated in several City of Ocala boards, committees, and non-profit boards.
“I’m deeply invested and rooted in Ocala,” Dreyer stated, “and my real estate background has given me a very unique opportunity to meet with a lot of the residents of west Ocala and already begin addressing some of the issues that have come up on the campaign trail. On November 16, I would ask for your vote as your next District 4 city councilperson.”
Musleh is a native Ocalan and was educated at Forest High School and the University of Florida. He has been married for 27 years and has four children and seven grandchildren. He is the incumbent District 3 councilman, having served on the council for nine-and-a-half years. Prior to that, he has 16 years of experience serving on the City of Ocala Code Enforcement Board, as well as 43 years working as a banker.
“I think I’m the best candidate with proven leadership skills and the necessary experience to get the job done for all of Ocala,” said Musleh.
Schlicther was not in attendance for the forum. According to his campaign website, he has a history with Ocala spanning nearly 20 years. He is a graduate of Forest High School, and he earned a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Florida. He is also vice president and partner of an electric company in Ocala.
For more information, or for election results, visit the Marion County Supervisor of Elections website.