Local News

It’s qualifying week Races possible for state senator, county commission, school board

— This is the week when Don Elwell, Jack Richie, Bill Brantley, Dick Miller and Bill Galvano find out if they have opponents.

It’s qualifying week in Florida, meaning candidates have filed papers properly, paid a fee or obtained the proper number of signatures, and done 30 more items on a checklist.

In congressional district 17, incumbent Tom Rooney, R-Okeechobee, has 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. So far, no one has filed against him.

Sen. Denise Grimsley was elected for a four-year-term two years ago, and she is seeking reelection in 2016.

State representatives run for two-year terms, so incumbent Dr. Cary Pigman is seeking reelection to District 55. Democrat Tony Munnings of Lake Placid has filed, but as of Thursday afternoon, had not officially qualified for the November election. The qualifying period ends at noon Friday.

For Highlands County Court Judge, incumbent Anthony Ritenour qualified and is running unopposed.

Incumbent county commissioners Don Elwell of Spring Lake and Jack Richie of Lake Placid have filed for reelection. So far, neither Republican has drawn an opponent. Richie has qualified.

There are three non-partisan school board races. In District 4, incumbent Bill Brantley of Lake Placid still has no opponent.

In District 1, Charlene Edwards and Al Joe Hinson have filed to oppose Ronnie Jackson of Avon Park. All three have qualified.

In District 5, incumbent Andy Tuck of Sebring withdrew from the race after being appointed to the state school board. Five candidates have filed to take his place: Jill Compton, William Hutchinson III, Trevor Murphy, Clinton Culverhouse, and William ‘Tres’ Stephenson III. The latter three have qualified.

At Sun N’ Lake of Sebring, Dick Miller remains unopposed for a popularly elected board of supervisors seat, and has qualified.

Eleven seats are up for election in circuit court 10. Locally, Judge Peter Estrada is qualified and will be running unopposed for seat 23. Eight other judges are running unopposed in circuit 10.

In seat 2, Michelle Pincket of Lakeland and Christine Thornhill have qualified to run for the non-partisan seat.

In seat 16, Taylor Davidson of Lakeland and Larry Helms of Winter Haven have qualified to run.

As of Thursday afternoon, 37 candidates had filed for governor and 12 had qualified. Twelve had qualified to be on the ballot, including incumbent Republican Rick Scott, former Gov. Charlie Crist, and a Democratic opponent for Crist, Sen. Nan Rich of Weston.

Deerfield Beach Democrat William Rankin qualified Wednesday to run this fall against incumbent state Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater. Rankin was the first Democratic candidate to qualify for one of the three Cabinet seats, which are held by Atwater, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Attorney General Pam Bondi.

The incumbent cabinet members, all Republicans, qualified Monday. Also, Libertarian Bill Wohlsifer qualified Tuesday to run against Bondi. Rankin had raised only $13,055 as of May 31 for the chief financial officer’s race, while Atwater had pulled in nearly $1.9 million.



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, at 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.