497. County Council candidate Ken Ali in 2012 debate closing: 'I'm heterosexual'

Top 500 Newsmakers of Central Florida / Headline Surfer®
Daytona Beach businessman Ken Ali was a candidate for County Council in 2012 / Headline Surfer®Photos for Headline Surfer® / Ken Ali, a candidate for the district 2 County Council race in 2012, shown here in this recent self-portrait on his Facebook, has no regrets in declaring at the end of a debate that he's 'heterosexual,' a veiled bi-sexualjab at the incumbent, Joshua Wagner, married with his wife pregnant at the time with their second child, who laughed it off. Wagner and fellow candidate Nancy Epps are shown below in a Headline Surfer image from the 2012 campaign.
 

County Councilman Joshua Wagner with candidate Nancy Epps in 2012 / Headline Surfer®DAYTONA BEACH -- Things weren't quite right to begin with. First, the Daytona Beach News-Journal debate for the district 2 County Council race was held at the Brannon Center in New Smyrna Beach instead of a venue in Daytona Beach since that's the home turf of the seat held by incumbent Joshua Wagner.

Then came the prophetic words that that doomed the candidacy of candidate Daytona Beach businessman Ken Ali, if he had a prayer toy begin with in surviving a primary in the three-persion race and forcing a run-off with Wagner, in the 2012 November elections.

The third candidate was former Ponce Inlet Mayor Nancy Epps, herself, more of an upset threat to Wagner.

Perhaps Ali thought he'd get over with the sparse crowd with his closing in the News-Journal debate moderated by Editor Pat Rice, which he said with a straight face: "Well, what should I say? I'm not a career politician, and I'm not an attorney. You know we've got our fill of them in D.C., and look how it's working out for us. I'm a small business owner, I've lived in Volusia County for 18 years, I'm married to my first wife of over 30 years, we have three children, I'm heterosexual."

Perhaps Ali thought he'd get over with the sparse crowd with his closing in the News-Journal debate moderated by Editor Pat Rice, which he said with a straight face: "Well, what should I say? I'm not a career politician, and I'm not an attorney. You know we've got our fill of them in D.C., and look how it's working out for us. I'm a small business owner, I've lived in Volusia County for 18 years, I'm married to my first wife of over 30 years, we have three children, I'm heterosexual."

His target? Wagner, a married man whose wife was pregnant with their second child. Wagner and Epps could hardly keep a straight face, after Ali's closing comments.

The July 24 debate was the highlight and lowlight of the conservative Republican Ali's foray into politics in the non-partisan race.

The News-Journal, in a story published two days after the debate, write the following: Ali, in a newspaper interview six days before the debate, had said unprompted that he heard from what he called "a reliable source" that Wagner is bisexual. He didn't reveal the source. He did point to Volusia's recently enacted domestic partnership registry, a measure Wagner supported and counts among his chief accomplishments in office, as evidence. The News-Journal didn't publish Ali's comments at the time. Then he alluded to the issue again in Tuesday's public forum.

Ken Ali sees himself as a conservative Christian man / Headline Surfer®Ken Ali, shown in this image from his Facebook page during the 2012 campaignfor County Council, portrayed himself as an evangelical conservative Republican, but he didn't trend with the voters, especially after making a comment during a candidate debate that he was 'heterosexual.'
 

There were groans in the audience and after the debate and a couple of headlines, the issue fizzled. Wagner said Ali's accusation wasn't worthy of a response Ali to this day stands behind his assertion.

In the Aug. 14 primary, Ali finished dead last and out of the running with slightly more than 18 percent of the votes to nearly 37 percent for Epps and nearly 45 percent for Wagner.

After the primary results were posted online, Ali wrote on his Facebook page: "Thanks to all the candidates who were on the ballot and who want to serve and make a difference in their community. It takes 'thick skin' to be in politics and it is considered a 'blood sport.' I will continue to be involved and serve my local community as a citizen. Thank you again to everyone who supported me."

Headline Surfer® would hold a public candidate debate between Wagner and Epps on the eve of that November election run-off, won by the incumbent, with slightly more than 52 percent of the votes.

Top 500 Newsmakers of Central Florida / Headline Surfer®

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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories nearly evenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.