Ballot set for upcoming elections

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Following qualifying week that ended Friday at noon, the local, state and federal ballots have all been set.

There are going to be several high-profile local elections, with one of them, the Franklin County commission race in District #2 in the eastern end of the county, the first to be decided.

That’s because it’s the Republican primary Aug. 23, with three members of the GOP vying for the commission seat that represents residents of Alligator Point, Lanark Village and the eastern portion of Carrabelle. 

Because no Democrats or those with no party affiliation filed for the seat, the primary will be open to all voters within the district, regardless of party.

Running for the seat are incumbent commissioner Bert Boldt II, 76, who resides at 1 Eagle’s Way at St. James Bay; Christopher Paul Crosby, 43, of 330 Hickory Hammock Road in Carrabelle, and Cheryl Sanders, 66, who resides at 4901 Jeff Sanders Road in Carrabelle.

In the District #2 non-partisan school board race, incumbent Pam Marshall, 63, of 1989 River Bend Plantation Road, Carrabelle, secured another four-year term as no challenger came forward to run against her.

The other county commission seat, in District 4 which encompasses the historic district of Apalachicola and the city’s outskirts, won’t be decided until the Nov. 8 general election.

Incumbent Commissioner Joseph A. “Smokey” Parrish, 60, of 108 Long Road, a Democrat, will face a challenge in November from Republican Ottice Dewey Amison, 49, of 55 Waddell Road. A second GOP hopeful, Lorrainne Gordon, 43, of 511 Paradise Lane, dropped out earlier this month prior to qualifying week.

In the District 4 non-partisan school board race, incumbent Stacy Buck Kirvin, 59, of 142 Deer Patch Lane, secured re-election to another four-year term when no challengers emerged.

The county commission race in the eastern end of the county is the only strictly local election to be decided in the August primary.

On the state level, Democrats have a competitive primary between U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried for the right to face Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in November. In addition, there is a competitive Dem primary for attorney general to see whether Aramis Ayala, Jim Lewis or Daniel Uhlfelder will have the right to run against incumbent Ashley Moody.

Both parties have competitive primaries to see who will replace Fried as commissioner of agriculture. Naomi Esther Blemur. J. R. Gaillot and Ryan Morales will battle it out in the Democratic primary, while James W. Shaw and Wilton Simpson are fighting to be the Republican standard bearer.

In the city of Carrabelle, four candidates have emerged in the Nov. 8 race that will see the top two finishers among all voters at-large be elected to full four-year terms.

Incumbent Cal Allen, 84, decided not to run for re-election after several years on the commission. The other incumbent, A.C. “Tony” Millender, 68, of 202 NE 12th Street, will be running in the general election, as will three other challengers, Sharon Glaze, 64, of 122 Bragdon Street; Bill Gray, 43, of 1658 Highway 67; and David Printiss, 54, of 212 East Meridian Avenue.

Only one candidate emerged to complete the final two years of the term of the late Frank Mathes, and so former city commissioner Russell “Keith” Walden, 69, of 508 West Sixth Street, was elected to that post without opposition.

The Nov. 8 general election will see a high-profile tax measure on the ballot, when Franklin County voters will decide whether to levy a half-cent sales tax to raise capital outlay monies for the school district for the next 20 years.

If approved, the sales tax would raise in the neighborhood of $1.3 million in its first year, with about $350,000 going to the Apalachicola Bay Charter School in keeping with its proportion of overall student enrollment. Collection of the tax would begin Jan. 1, 2023, and terminate on Dec. 31, 2042. 

On a far smaller scale, about 66 registered voters who reside on properties served by the Alligator Point Water Resource District but just outside of its boundaries, will decide in November whether they want to expand the boundaries of the district to include them.

Supervisor of Elections Heather Riley had sought to conduct a mail ballot in early October. But the terms of the bill that passed the Florida legislature to allow the election specified the Nov. 8 date, and so it will be an in-person, with those eligible voters receiving a paper ballot where they can decide yea or nay.

Republican State Rep. Jason Shoaf, who represents District 7, which includes Gulf and Franklin counties, was among about two dozen Florida House members who did not have any opponents, so he will be returned to office for another two years.

In the Florida Senate, Republican Corey Simon will try to unseat Sen. Loranne Ausley, D-Tallahassee, in November. A second GOP candidate, Virginia Fuller, withdrew after declaring for the seat a few months ago.

In the race for the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Al Lawson, a Tallahassee Democrat will challenge incumbent Neal Dunn, a Panama City Republican in Congressional District 2. 

Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio will vie in November against Democratic challenger, U.S. Rep. Val Demings of Orlando.

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