Four to run in Apopka City Council special election

Apopka City Council special election
The four candidates in the Apopka City Council special election are (l to r) Yesenia “Jesi” Baron, Gene Knight, Diane Velazquez and Nick Nesta.

The Apopka City Council special election for Seat 2 has drawn four candidates, one a former city commissioner, another who was a candidate two years ago, and two newcomers to Apopka political races.

All four filed their paperwork on Thursday, August 27, to run for the spot on the City Council that was created when Alice Nolan resigned on August 4 about four months past the midway point of her first term.

Earlier this summer, Nolan announced that she is being treated for lung cancer.

In running for Seat 2, Diane Velazquez will be seeking her old seat back. She served from 2014-2018 in the slot before losing to Nolan.

In 2018, Gene Knight was one of four candidates who ran for Seat 1 now held by Commissioner Alexander Smith.

Also qualifying to run for Seat 2 are Nick Nesta and Yesenia “Jesi” Baron. Both are new to Apopka political races.

The special election for Seat 2 will be on the November 3 general election ballot, which will also include the presidential election between Democrat Joe Biden and President Donald Trump, the Republican.

Each of the City Council candidates paid $636 to qualify, which is based on the commissioner’s salary of $15,900.

Because the city election will follow the same parameters as the general election, voters will be able to cast their ballots in their usual precincts on November 3, but if one person does not get a majority of the votes cast, a runoff election will be held December 8 and that election will be held at the two city precincts, one at the Apopka Community Center/VFW and one at the Northwest Recreation Complex.

Early voting for the special election and general election will be held from October 19 through November 1 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day. In Apopka, the early-voting site will be the Apopka Community Center/VFW, 519 S. Central Avenue. There will be nearly 20 other sites for early voting across Orange County, including Amway Arena.

If there is a runoff in the Seat 2 race, the only early-voting site will be at the Orange County supervisor of elections office at 119 W. Kaley St., Orlando. The winner of the election will take office at the first City Council meeting following certification of the election results. That could mean at the November 18 City Council meeting if a winner emerges from the November 3 general election or December 16 if a runoff election is held on December 8.

The final date to register for the city election and general election will be October 5 at 5 p.m. All vote-by-mail ballot requests should be directed to the Orange County supervisor of elections office.

The telephone number for the office is 407-836-2070. The website is

The term for Seat 2 will end on April 26, 2022.

This story appears in full starting on page 1A of the Friday, September 4, issue of The Apopka Chief. Subscribe today!