Qualifying Week – Day 2

Today is the second day of the week when candidates qualify for state and local offices…

Here are some interesting notes:

Florida Legislature — Tampa Bay Delegation

Most of the Tampa Bay area Senators and Representatives have already qualified, and those who haven’t yet will likely in the next few days (due by Noon Friday).

House Districts 1, 2, 37, 42, 64, 78, 94, 100, 108, 109, & 118

As of tonight in each of these districts, most of which are open seats, there are candidates from only one party running for office. If that holds the rest of the week, and I am betting it won’t, then the primaries in these districts will be open to all voters. Of course, most of the time these one-party races draw a write in candidate; write-in candidates close the primary — meaning only Republicans or only Democrats can vote in the primary.

Currently, Senate District 31 in South Florida and House District 12 in the Jacksonville area will see closed primaries. We already know House District 55 in St. Petersburg will also see this effect, as a write-in candidate has qualified, and the only other candidates will be Democrats by the end of the week (a Republican has told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune he won’t be qualifying.)

Article VI, Section 5 of the Florida Constitution says:
(b) 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 Arprimary elections for that office.

Some would question whether a write-in candidate is meaningful opposition, but the Florida Legislature (mostly the Florida House) has held to the argument that any opposition is technically opposition.

It’s a terrible ploy and disenfranchises voters. Both parties do it, so I can’t point fingers at my own party. We’ll see what happens over the rest of the week.

Note: This has already happened locally, as Hillsborough County Commission District 2 now has a write-in candidate — previously only two Republicans had been running for the seat.

House Districts 58, 99, and 102

In these three seats, we have the incumbent legislator and a wrte-in candidate as the only two currently seeking the office. What does this mean? Well, it means that Democrats Mike Scionti (Tampa), Elaine Schwartz (Hollywood), and Republican Eddy Gonzalez (Hialeah) get to continue to campaign — raise campaign contributions, spend money on campaign ads, etc… and then, in November, theirs will be the only name on the ballot in their race.

It’s a great gig. They get all the benefits of campaigning, with none of the risk. Of course, the same can be true of those legislators whose only opponents are in minor parties… more on that later this week.

About Jim Johnson

Editor and publisher of The State of Sunshine.
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