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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Ocala has new mayor; two council members retain seats in general election

The city of Ocala has a new mayor for the first time in over a dozen years, while two other city council incumbents retained their seats during Tuesday’s general election.

The city of Ocala held its general election on Tuesday, September 19, with two of the seats running unopposed.

The only seat on the Ocala City Council up for a vote was that of District 2, which was won by incumbent Ire Bethea, Sr. with 67.89% of the vote. Bethea edged out Reginald Landers, who garnered 32.11% of the vote.

A total of 2,860 voters participated in the election, which represents a 7.57% turnout.

There are 37,779 registered voters in Ocala.

Bethea was the only candidate that faced opposition, with the other two candidates, Ben Marciano and Kristen Dreyer, running unopposed. 

Marciano takes over the mayor’s office after a 12-year run by former Mayor Kent Guinn, who announced this past spring that he would not seek reelection.

Dreyer retains the District 4 seat, which she first won in a runoff election in November 2021.

Ben Marciano, Kristen Dreyer, Ire Bethea, Sr.
Ben Marciano (left), Kristen Dreyer (center), Ire Bethea, Sr. (right)

Bethea was originally elected to the council in a special runoff election in 2020 after the seat was vacated by longtime councilwoman Mary Sue Rich in September 2019. The special election in 2020 was held after it was discovered that the original winner, Tyrone Oliver, was ineligible to take office.

For the complete results from Tuesday’s election, visit the Marion County Supervisor of Elections online.