BROOKSVILLE — The new year will bring big choices for Hernando County voters. They’ll face a full ballot in the fall, not just for federal elections, but also because of numerous local races.
The complete lineup of candidates for public offices won’t be known for months, but some races already are shaping up with a potential for interesting challenges.
County Supervisor of Elections Shirley Anderson listed 139,062 registered voters as 2019 drew to a close. The majority were registered as Republicans — 58,356. Another 42,462 were registered as Democrats, and the remainder, 38,244, had other affiliations.
Not surprisingly, every candidate already pre-qualified in a local, partisan race in the coming year is Republican.
Formal qualifying for candidates running for U.S. Congress, for state attorney, public defender and circuit court judge will be April 20-24. Candidates for local races, including state representatives, local constitutional officers, and county and city elected officials must file formal qualifying documents June 8-12.
Here is a line-up of candidates for Hernando County races potentially on the ballot in the year ahead:
U.S. Congress, District 11: U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster, a Republican, is seeking reelection. He is challenged by Republican Timothy Devine and Democrats Dana Cottrell, James F. Henry and Jeff Rabinowitz, according to state election filing lists.
State representatives for District 34 and 35: These seats are held by state Rep. Ralph Massullo, R-Lecanto, and Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill. Both have filed for reelection. No candidates have filed yet to take on Massullo. Ingoglia has drawn one opponent, a Democrat, Keith G. Laufenberg of Hernando Beach.
State attorney for the Fifth Judicial Circuit: Brad King, a Republican, has filed for reelection and has no opponents at this point.
Circuit judge for the Fifth Judicial Circuit, Seat 22: Circuit Judge George Angeliadis is seeking reelection, and Pamela Vergara is challenging him.
Hernando County Sheriff: Sheriff Al Neinhuis, a Republican, is seeking reelection. He is challenged by two other Republicans, James Terry and Chad M. Moore.
Hernando County Clerk of the Circuit Court, Property Appraiser, Tax Collector and Supervisor of Elections: The other four Hernando County constitutional officers, Clerk of the Circuit Court Doug Chorvat, Property Appraiser John Emerson, Tax Collector Sally Daniel and Anderson, all Republicans, have pre-filed for reelection. None currently faces opposition.
Hernando County Commission, District 1: District 1 Commissioner John Mitten was appointed to the job by former Gov. Rick Scott to complete the term of Nick Nicholson, who was suspended after his arrest on prostitution-related charges. Mitten is not expected to seek another term. Three Republicans have pre-filed for the seat — Mark Johnson, Beth Narverud and Joseph “Joe” Swilley Sr.
Hernando County Commission, District 3: Incumbent Commissioner John Allocco has pre-filed for reelection and is challenged by fellow Republican Burton Melaugh.
Hernando County Commission, District 5: Incumbent Commissioner Steve Champion has pre-filed for reelection. He has one opponent, also a Republican, Kevin Hohn.
Hernando County School Board, District 4: Incombent board member Gus Guadagnino currently is the only candidate who has pre-filed.
Brooksville City Council, Seat 3: Two candidates have filed for the seat which will be vacated by William Kemerer. They are David Wayne Bailey and Thomas Glen Dye.
Hernando County Judge: Incumbent Kurt E. Hitzemann has pre-filed for reelection and currently does not face any opposition.
The 2020 presidential preference primary for Florida is March 17.
The primary election will be August 18, and the general election will be November 3.
For more information on voter registration and the election process, including voter registration deadlines and details on how to get vote-by-mail ballots, visit the county elections site at: https://www.hernandovotes.com/.