A trio of Republican candidates are seeking their party's nomination to succeed retiring Supervisor of Elections Annie B. Williams. All are public employees with diverse backgrounds who want to enhance community outreach to increase voter registration and participation.
One, however, stands out as the superior candidate — Shirley Anderson, district director for U.S. Rep. Rich Nugent. Anderson served in the same capacity for Nugent's predecessor, retired U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite.
Anderson, making her second run for the supervisor's post after losing a three-way general election race four years ago, is opposed in the primary by Jason Yungmann and Mark Caskie. The winner faces Democrat Elizabeth Townsend in November.
Yungmann, 38, is a middle school history and government teacher, a community theater actor and radio host. He thinks his education and broadcasting background will allow him to be effective in producing videos/infomercials to increase voter participation. Certainly, communications is key to successful governing, but performance art is an odd topic to serve as the central platform plank in the job of elections supervisor. Yungmann acknowledges he is running to try to extend his own personal growth, saying he felt a calling to assume a more prominent role in the community. Motivation aside, Yungmann is handicapped by his limited administrative experience.
Mark Caskie, 52, retired as a senior master sergeant after 21 years in the U.S. Air Force and then began a career in local government, rising to job of interim director of Hernando County Code Enforcement in 2009. He is currently a code enforcement officer for the city of Brooksville. His budget experience and leadership training are assets, and his only criticism of the incumbent was her inability to communicate effectively her budgetary needs to county commissioners. If elected, he doesn't plan to be a significant agent of change.
That is not the case with Anderson, 54, who already is looking at the operations of other election supervisors to determine potential improvements in Hernando. Anderson wants to better the supervisor's website and to start an electronic newsletter for timely communications directly to voters.
Her job as a congressional staffer has allowed her to excel in problem solving because she interacts daily with constituents seeking help from federal agencies.
Likewise, she is not inexperienced with legislative and budgetary matters having sat on the Hillsborough River Basin Board for three years.
These are solid credentials her opponents cannot match. In the Aug. 14 Republican primary, the Times recommends Shirley Anderson for Hernando supervisor of elections.