By ALICIA LEONARD
Four local election races were unopposed by the time qualifying ended at noon on June 20. Clerk of the Circuit Court Martha Ingle, Tax Collector Rhonda Skipper, District 1 County Commissioner Scott Brannon and Property Appraiser Patrick Pilcher will all resume office in the new term.
Others aren’t so lucky. District 3 County Commissioner Larry D. Jones will face Johnny Smith. District 5 seat is being fought for more ardently and has five qualifying for the seat Cindy Meadows will leave at the end of her term. Those who will face off at the primary include Sidney Braunstien, Robert Hudson, Cecilia Jones, Alan Osborne and George Wallace Smith. Meadows has publicly given her endorsement to Osborne in the race.
One important fact is that in all of the races above, only Republicans are running. Since no Democrats are on the ticket, the race will be decided at the primary runoff on August 26, 2008. Democrats will have no chance to vote in those races.
Supervisor of Elections Bobby Beasley reminds those Democrats who want to vote in the primary that the time to change party affiliations is drawing near. “Since Florida went to a closed primary system, the last date to change over party affiliation to vote or register to vote in the Republican races will be July 28. They can always switch back over after the race if they like,” said Beasley.
That may play a part in the upcoming sheriff’s race. With six Republican candidates vying over the much-publicized office, the swing vote could make a difference in the primary and as to who goes onto face the lone Democratic challenger, Danny H. Griffith, in the November election. Those qualifying for the sheriff race are Michael A. Adkinson Jr., Richard S. Brown, Thomas M. Cooper, Tony Cornman, Ralph L. Johnson, Jimmy L. Macon and Dennis Wise.
The race for superintendent of schools will be decided at the primary as well. Incumbent Carlene Anderson will face off against another Republican, Trisha P. Hutchison.
The school board races are open to everyone to vote and maybe decided at the primary according to the number of votes for each candidate. Robert Nelson and Tim Yandell both face incumbent Mildred T. Wilkerson in District 1. Marsha S. Winegarner will attempt to unseat incumbent Mark D. Davis in District 4. If any one candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote in these nonpartisan races, they will be declared the winner. If not, in the case of a three-way race with none gathering 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters will move onto the ballot at the general election.
Beasley said he plans on putting out more voter information before the primaries and always welcomes questions at his office. Beasley can be contacted at 892-8112 or check out their website at www.supervisorofelections.co.walton.fl.us