top of page
Winter Garden Politics

DJ Culberson throws support behind incumbent Ron Mueller for reelection

Instant Photo Poster
Norine Dworkin

Editor in Chief

Wednesday, April 10, 2024


From Facebook

Community advocate and one-time District 2 commissioner candidate Danny "DJ" Culberson endorsed Ron Mueller while calling out Iliana R. Jones for "hate-provoking politics." He asked, "What kind of community do you want to live in?"

Winter Garden community advocate Danny “DJ” Culberson Tuesday endorsed District 2 Commissioner Ron Mueller for reelection. He did so in a blistering video posted to Facebook that accused candidate Iliana R. Jones and her supporters of engaging in “hate-provoking politics” and alleged that certain videos attacking Mueller “appear to have been done with the coordination from Iliana’s supporters on the city commission.”

He called the Jones campaign actions a “gigantic red flag for all of us” and asked “if someone is willing to ruin someone else to win an election, what else are they capable of?”

Winter Garden Mayor John Rees, District 1 Commissioner Lisa Bennett and City Manager Jon Williams did not respond to emailed questions about alleged “coordination” with the Jones campaign.

Culberson was a candidate in the three-way race for the District 2 commission seat but lost in the March 19 election when he pulled just 10 percent of the vote. Neither Jones nor Mueller reached the 50 percent vote threshold to win outright, so they will go head to head in an April 16 run-off that’s a rematch of their 2021 District 2 race. Early voting, underway at the Orange County Supervisor of Elections office at 119 Kaley Street in Orlando, is open daily 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through April 12.

Posting his video, Culberson, director of global corporate accounts for EcoLab and a VoxPopuli advisory board member, noted that he expected his endorsement “will ruffle some feathers, but I could not live with myself if I failed to speak my truth.”

A neighbor of both Mueller and Jones, Culberson said each of them had sought his endorsement for the run-off. Initially he said he was inclined to support Jones because “her journey as a woman and an immigrant truly inspired me.”  In some ways, he said, it mirrored his own family’s experience coming from Mexico and bootstrapping their way from poverty to a life “they could have once only dreamed of” in the United States.

However, he explained, personal reflection and consultation with other Winter Garden families, the core constituency for the ideas he’d championed during the campaign — like city-run childcare, expanding the city-sponsored gap/summer camps for working parents — had left him “very troubled.”

He called out the Jones campaign for “hate-provoking politics” and pointed to mailers, a website, text messages and attack videos created from comments made during city commission meetings that he said were deployed specifically to “embarrass, discredit and villanize” Ron Mueller.”

Culberson asked voters to consider the kind of community they wanted to live in and raise children in and the lessons they wanted their children to learn.

“How someone runs their campaign says a lot about their character, and my choice becomes clear when they choose negative smear tactics over open discussion,” he said, referring to Jones’ refusal to participate in any of the community candidate forums where constituents might have questioned her about Winter Garden issues.

Culberson said the Jones campaign’s actions “are everything I stand against,” and noted that on April 16, he was voting for Ron Mueller and invited the District 2 community to join him.

bottom of page