Thursday, June 21, 2018
Politics

Local elections shaping up as formal qualifying approaches

BROOKSVILLE — Candidates for local political offices are busy getting petition cards signed, raising campaign funds and making speeches, but almost nothing about the upcoming election is official until noon on June 22.

Monday begins "qualifying" week for local offices. Between Monday and Friday, everyone vying for an elected position at the state and local level must complete formal qualifying documents.

After qualifying, the ballot is set for the August 28 primary election. Candidates with same-party challengers appear on that ballot. The general election is Nov. 6.

With a week to go before the qualifying deadline, many candidates already have pre-qualified.

In Hernando County, the only primary election race already set is the open seat for Fifth Judicial Circuit Group 4 circuit judge. It will pit Don Barbee, who is leaving his job as the Hernando County Clerk of the Circuit Court, against Edward Spaight. The non-partisan race qualifying already has taken place.

For the state Senate District 10 position, only Republican incumbent Wilton Simpson has pre-qualified so far.

Hernando County is represented by two state House members, incumbent Republicans Ralph Massulo in District 34 and Blaise Ingoglia in District 35. Both have Democratic challengers: James F. Henry in District 34, which covers northwestern Hernando County; and Colleen Kasperek in District 35, which covers the remainder of Hernando.

If those candidates qualify and no others join, the races will be settled in November rather than appearing on the primary ballot.

Another race that could be determined in the primary is the one to fill the remaining two years of Barbee’s term for county Clerk of the Circuit Court. Two Republicans have pre-qualified: Douglas Chorvat and Joel Fritton. If no Democrats qualify, it becomes a universal primary race.

According to the Supervisor of Elections website, "if all candidates for an office have the same party affiliation and the winner will have no opposition in the general election, all qualified electors, regardless of party affiliation, may vote in the primary election for that office.’’

Two Hernando County Commission and three Hernando County School Board seats are up this year.

Candidates for the District 2 commission race include Republican incumbent Wayne Dukes and fellow Republicans Charles Greenwell and Beth Narverud, currently a member of the county School Board. Democrat Deborah Salveson also is pre-qualified.

In the District 4 commission race, incumbent Republican Jeff Holcomb faces Republicans Ryan Griffiths and Natalie Kahler, who is not seeking another term on the Brooksville City Council. Democrat Nancy Makar pre-qualified in this race.

Unless more candidates qualify, two School Board members will be chosen in the primary because each race has only two candidates. The third race has three candidates, so if no one wins more than 50 percent in the primary, the race is settled in November.

In the District 1 School Board race, incumbent Mark Johnson faces Catherine Hatch. In District 3, three candidates want the seat Narverud is vacating: Julius Blazys, Jimmy Lodato and Lucille Moskal-Ketcham. The District 5 race currently pits incumbent Susan Duval against Yvonne Woods.

Three Brooksville City Council seats are up this year, but that election appears on the November ballot. Currently, there are no challengers for incumbents Robert Battista and Betty Erhard. Two prequalified candidates are seeking Kahler’s seat: former council member Frankie Burnett and George "Nick" Schillinger.

Contact Barbara Behrendt at [email protected] or (352) 848-1434.

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