Local News

Highlands County will see two school board races

— Of the 11 possible races in Highlands County, only four drew opponents and will be on the Aug. 26 ballot, Assistant Supervisor of Elections Karen Kensinger said Friday.

All the candidates who filed had qualified by the noon Friday deadline.

Two are non-partisan school board races. In District 1, Charlene Edwards and Al Joe Hinson will challenge incumbent Ronnie Jackson. All are from Avon Park.

In school board District 5, incumbent Andy Tuck and challenger Dustin Wood withdrew, Tuck because he was appointed by the governor to a state board of education seat.

However, Jill Compton, Clinton Culverhouse, Pep Hutchinson, Trevor Murphy and Tres Stephenson will make it a race. All are from Sebring.

In Judicial Circuit 10, Michelle Pincket and Christine Thornhill will run for Seat 2, and Taylor Davidson and Larry Helms will run in Group 16.

Running unopposed: incumbent school board member Bill Brantley of Lake Placid in District 4; incumbent County Judge Anthony Ritenour, incumbent county commissioner Don Elwell from Spring Lake in District 2, and incumbent Jack Richie of Lake Placid. Both are Republicans.

Also unopposed, Dick Miller for a popularly elected supervisors seat in Sun N’ Lake of Sebring Improvement District, Brian Acker for Spring Lake Improvement District Seat 4, and Timothy McKenna for Seat 3.

Locally, Circuit Court Judge Peter Estrada was also elected without an opponent.

Finally, Pam Fentress of Lake Placid and Scott Kirouac of Sebring were unopposed for Seats 4 and 3.

The Florida Division of Elections was still qualifying candidates at press time.

In congressional district 17, incumbent Tom Rooney, R-Okeechobee, qualified to run for a fourth term. A former Army captain and lawyer, Rooney won election for the first time in 2008.

Rooney will not be opposed in the Aug. 26 Republican primary, but will face Will Bronson, D-Lehigh Acres, who qualified for the Nov. 4 general election.

Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, has qualified to seek reelection for state senate district 26, which includes Lake Placid, Lorida and southern Highlands County.

However, Kensinger said, the state has an additional week to qualify candidates.

The same website showed incumbent Dr. Cary Pigman qualified to seek reelection to District 55. Democrat Tony Munnings of Lake Placid had filed but had not officially qualified for the November election.

Highlands Today holding candidate forum

Highlands Today will hold a candidate forum for contested races for Highlands County School Board at 6 p.m. July 24 in the South Florida State College University Center. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and the forum will begin as 6 p.m. Questions will be asked by a moderator and the public can ask questions as well.