The long-time supervisor of elections in suburban Orlando's Seminole County, Michael Ertel, is a leading candidate to be Florida's next secretary of state.
Ertel, 49, is a Republican who was appointed supervisor by former Gov. Jeb Bush in 2005 when the previous elections chief resigned. Ertel previously applied for secretary of state when the post became vacant in 2012 after Kurt Browning resigned.
Like Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis, who will make the appointment, Ertel is a veteran who served in the Army. Two phone messages left with Ertel on Monday by the Times/Herald were not returned.
"I think it's no secret that he's interested," Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley said of Ertel.
Ertel has a web site that is headlined "Rebuilding trust in Florida's elections."
His interest in the statewide post comes as the politics in Seminole appear to be shifting from red to blue.
Once a deep-red county, it's increasingly competitive. Democrat Andrew Gillum outperformed DeSantis in the governor's race, and a Republican House member, Bob Cortes, lost his seat to a Democrat last month.
Ertel is a personable and media-savvy elections administrator who has a very active social media presence on Facebook and Twitter.
Ertel drew attention in the 2016 election cycle with his online efforts to "Debunk the Bunk" and discredit false rumors of election chicanery.
Many election supervisors would feel reassured, having one of their own in charge of statewide election administration. Tensions surfaced on occasion during Gov. Rick Scott's tenure between supervisors and Secretary of State Ken Detzner.
DeSantis must soon pick up the pace of making many high-level agency appointees. He'll take office as Florida's 46th governor five weeks from today.