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May Vs. May In District 3

Photos courtesy of Lumon May and LuTimothy May

The Democratic race for Escambia County Commission District 3 is a family affair. Incumbent Lumon May is being challenged by Rev. LuTimothy May, his younger brother.

It’s an awkward situation, but the candidates are forging ahead with their campaigns.

“It’s not “against” a personal family, but it’s “for” a district of a family that needs their voices heard,” said challenger, LuTimothy May, making an effort to shift the focus away from the brother-verses-brother narrative that’s overshadowing the race.

His older brother, Lumon May, who’s seeking his third term in office, wants to do the same.

“You know, I’m just going to really focus on delivering results for our community,” said Lumon. “The constitution allows for anybody to run that wants to run for a political office.”

One of the main issues on the minds of both candidates is the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on District 3. Both offered condolences to those who have died due the virus, including their mutual friend, Rev. Michael Johnson. 

Credit Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media
WUWF Public Media
Escambia Commissioner Lumon May leads a Mar. news conference to announce opening of a testing site at the Brownsville Community Center.

As the incumbent, Lumon has been busy working on recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. He highlighted the county’s recent allocation of almost $1.4 million for rapid response testing, as well as his appointment to represent the region on the state’s COVID-19 recovery team.

“This came out of a partnership that we believed that resources needed to be in every neighborhood,” said Lumon in early March at a news conference to announce plans to open a COVID-19 testing site at the Brownsville Community Center. It was the first of several testing sites established specifically to serve poor communities in the county.

“We realized that there were people, particularly in District 3, that did not have insurance, and that you had to have insurance. So, we realized that in the pockets of poverty, there were people who could not afford to get tested. So, we partnered with Community Health and we set up free testing quickly in Brownsville and we were one of the first people in the state of Florida, out of 67 counties, to set up in underserved areas.”

His opponent, LuTimothy, also pointed to problems with access to health care. Further, he notes the confusion surrounding COVID-19, adding that more needs to be done and should have been done, sooner.

Credit Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media
WUWF Public Media
LuTimothy May stops by the WUWF studios to discuss his run for Escambia County Commission District 3.

“Right now, we’re kind of going backwards, but I believe that if we would have looked earlier, and taken this really as seriously as it is, and put in a comprehensive plan that included people that may not have transportation,” LuTimothy declared.

“And, when we look at some of our housing developments and groups of people that don’t have access to transportation and make sure those testing sites are already there, not five weeks late.”

Outside of the pandemic, the candidates were asked about the most pressing issues facing District 3. On this subject, LuTimothy had just spoken to a constituent about the problem of crime, such as shootings.

“Crime is really heavy in the district and the silence is bigger than the crimes,” LuTimothy began. “So, when you deal with crime, it just slides right into safe neighborhoods. We got to make sure that there’s proper lighting. We got to make sure that we’re working with ECUA and the state. We got to make sure we’re having proper drainage, the flooding issues that are going throughout District 3, the gentrification that’s going out through District 3. There are so many (issues), and when you look at one, it kind of bleeds over to the next one.”

For his part, Lumon acknowledged the issue of crime in the district, but his priority list centered on youth development and prevention programs, affordable housing, and job creation and training.

"That’s one of the reasons I implemented my Block by Block program that I partnered with AMIkids’ Boys Base to implement a construction training program,” Lumon stated. “We implemented at ST Aerospace a training program in aviation, so the creation of those ST Aerospace jobs will go citizens who reside here in Escambia County.”

Credit Photo courtesy of LuTimothy May
LuTimothy May stops by the WUWF studios to discuss his run for Escambia County Commission District 3.

The issue of “residency” among the candidates is being debated on the campaign trail. Both own multiple homes in the county, and have made claims about problems with each other’s homestead.  Legal ramifications and impacts on the outcome of the election have yet to be determined.

But, as is typical with political campaigns, the battle lines have been drawn between these two brothers, who are seeking the same office. And, people in the district are taking sides.

“My name is Marcus McCreary. I’m a native Pensacolian and United States Army Veteran. I’m here to endorse Rev. LuTimothy May for County Commissioner District 3.”

“We support Rev. LuTimothy May for County Commissioner District 3 for multiple reasons,” began another testimonial video on LuTimothy’s Facebook page. “Number one, he’s a standup guy, extremely supportive.”

“My name is Nellie Washington and I’m here today to tell you that I support Lumon May. He’s done a wonderful job for District 3,” started a testimonial video on Lumon’s Facebook page. “He’s held his word for District 3,” began another supporter. “I know there’s a lot more to and I think he’s built for the task.”

Credit Photo courtesy of Lumon May
Lumon May on the campaign trail. May is seeking re-election to the Escambia County Commission District 3.

Lumon has also netted some high-profile endorsements, from the likes of Roy Jones Jr., Rev. H.K. Matthews and former Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward. But, perhaps his biggest score in this brother verses brother race for Escambia Commissioner District 3, may be the endorsement he received from their mother.

The winner of the Democratic primary moves on to the General Election in November against Write-In, Jason Laird. According to the Escambia County Supervisor of Electionsoffice, Laird has raised zero campaign funds, compared to $25,601 for LuTimothy and $120,625 for Lumon.

Learn more about the candidates - and where they stand on the issues - by visiting the League of Women Voters online voter resource Vote411.org.

Sandra Averhart has been News Director at WUWF since 1996. Her first job in broadcasting was with (then) Pensacola radio station WOWW107-FM, where she worked 11 years. Sandra, who is a native of Pensacola, earned her B.S. in Communication from Florida State University.