County Commission Chair Desloge reacts to election loss, calls serving Leon County the ‘honor of a lifetime’

Desloge says he was “a little shocked, but that’s how democracy works.”
Published: Nov. 4, 2020 at 5:34 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - In his first interview since what many are calling a surprising loss, Leon County Commissioner Bryan Desloge had advice for the incoming Commissioner, ideas about what led to the loss, and updated WCTV on what’s next for him after 14 years on the County Commission.

Desloge says he was “a little shocked, but that’s how democracy works.”

He received 43% of the vote to challenger Brian Welch’s 56%.

Desloge says he’s not quite sure what will be next for him, but says he’s excited about the “blank slate.” He plans to spend time with his family and travel.

“It was the honor of a lifetime to serve Leon County,” said the outgoing Commissioner.

Desloge has been the Chair of both the County Commission and the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency during the pandemic, making him the face of certain decisions that were unpopular with some.

WCTV asked Desloge how issues such as the mask mandate may have affected the outcome of the race.

“When we did the mask mandate, although it was a unanimous decision, I’m the Chairman. Now, when we did the curfews, that was my decision as Chair. But there were a lot of things over the course of the last eight or ten months that people disagreed with, but I’ll stand by the decisions that we made; they were the right thing for the community. Maybe not the right thing for me as a candidate,” said Desloge.

Desloge says it wasn’t only those decisions, but also a general feeling within the community as a whole right now.

“And I think also, the other sentiment is, let’s just change for change. And anybody in elected office, they must be bad because I don’t feel good, so therefore I’m going to go with somebody else, and that’s the way these things work sometimes,” said Desloge.

WCTV asked if Desloge had any advice for incoming Commissioner Brian Welch; he says jump in with both feet and listen to county staff.

Welch has told WCTV he’s ready to get to work.

On Election Night, he said in an interview his campaign and messaging appealed to regular folks; he was shocked, excited, and a little scared by his win.

“Really 50,000 people who you’re serving, and you want you do the best you can. So I’m humbled by it, I’m grateful for the opportunity, I know it’s a rare opportunity, and I just want to do the right thing with that opportunity,” said Commissioner-elect Welch.

Welch also says Desloge had conceded to him in a phone call and offered to help with any transition.

The transition will take place on November 17; current Vice-Chair Rick Minor will become the Chair. The Commission will then select a new Vice-Chair, and the incoming Commissioners will be sworn in.

That reorganization meeting will be taking place after the Comprehensive Plan Meeting on November 10, in which Commissioners could vote to allow the transmittal plan for Welaunee.

Desloge says he’s heard from a couple of people who would want that decision postponed until the three new Commissioners (one City, two County) take office.

He says the current Commission has been discussing Welaunee for years, and the decision should not be further delayed.

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