Primary voting August 31
Election day comes early this year, as the primaries in Florida are taking place even before Labor Day. These are important elections for our community and we're going to try to present a thumbnail sketch of what's on the ballot [Note: early voting at the supervisor of elections office is August 16 - 30, 8:30 - 5:00 Monday through Friday and 1;00 - 5:00 Saturday and Sunday]. We tackle each race in the order it appears on your ballot.
First up will be the democratic primary for US Senate. We're okay with either Castor or Deutsch to take on the Republican choice in November, but we lean to Betty Castor.
Second up is Public Defender, and we support Rick Parker, the incumbent. His challenger's various complaints have been addressed well on Parker's website.
Next is Supervisor of Elections. We are undecided in this race and very sad to see Bev Hill retire, and with a job this important we are likewise disappointed we don't see a clear choice for the next supervisor of elections. While we ran a Hornbeck ad last month, we've heard too much negative to support him (sorry, Doug). We lean toward Barbara Sharpe as of now.
County Commission is the next item on the democratic primary ballot. In district 1 Mike Byerly is our strong pick. Byerly has a great track record and is really growing into the job, despite the Sun's continued bashing. In District 3 we hate to see Penny Wheat step down but she's been serving us long and well. This race will come down to Democrat James Higman and former City Commissioner and recently turned Democrat Paula DeLaney. However sincere her political conversion, her connection to the wealthy power structure (Her husband Bruce is head of the UF Foundation) of this county troubles us a bit. Still, she is a direct communicator with great experience and knowledge of government functions. DeLaney won the endorsement of the National Organization for Women, and she impressed some folks down at the DEC with her straightforward answers to their questions. We might surprise some of you but we'll endorse Paula DeLaney in this race. And if need be we'll hold her feet to the fire during her term. We are underwhelmed by Higman.
Next on the ballot are judges, and we'll give our picks based on consultation with folks we know around the community who are attorneys or know attorneys and the system.
In the 9th Circuit Judge race, while we're not wild about any of them, we prefer Craig Hall by a good bit over Mosley or Baxter.
County Judge group 3. There are two good candidates - Emory Springfield and Walter M. Green II and it's too bad they're not in different races so both could win. With Phyllis Kotey stepping down the County has no African-American judges. Green would fill that void. Springfield is a just plain good and fair guy. We co-endorse in this race.
County Judge group 5. Hayter (he of many signs) has bailed out of the race. Of the remaining two we take Tom Jaworski as the better option by far over Smith.
School Board. There are two seats here. In District 2 Eileen Roy is a clear favorite over Niederkohr, and this hasn't been close with anyone we've talked to. The District 4 is not as clear cut, but Isaac "Ike" Jones seems more on top of things according to our sources. His opponent Janie Williams has been more visible in the community, but Jones has been teaching and paying his dues. We like Ike.
That's the rundown for your primary ballot, though the ballot has not been finalized by the Supervisor of Elections office yet. We won't print again until after the primary on August 31. By all means do your own thinking and research and of course if you want to get involved in a campaign then do it. They all could use your help. If you need to, clip, or copy our election picks to bring to the polls with you.
Important: You need not wait until August 31 to vote. The Supervisor of Elections office will be open for "counter voting" beginning August 11.
Also on the ballot is the CHOICES binding referendum, a 1/4 cent sales tax targeted to help the working poor get some health care relief. Obviously our health care system needs a total overhaul (we favor universal health care with no more insurance companies), but this little band-aid won't hurt, might help some folks a lot, and targets the money where it can do the most good. We're for it. (See article about CHOICES on page 24.)
US Congressional races in our area
Democrat Corrine Brown faces token opposition and should have a safe return to Washington as the District 3 Representative. It was powerful to see her in Fahrenheit 911 in that moving opening sequence.
The race that could use help and would be a great win to pull off would be the District 6 seat held by Cliff Stearns, the Ocala-based Republican. Stearns came to power in the mid-eighties and hasn't had a real challenge since then. Dave Bruderly has been doggedly opposing him for two elections, including this one, and with some strong coattails from the Kerry / Edwards he might prevail. Energy issues are big with his campaign, but issues of foreign and domestic policies and the economy have become strong talking points too as Bush fatigue sets in.
District 6 is a sprawling district covering 8 counties. Alachua County is the biggest democratic stronghold in it, thus it needs to be a support base for the campaign. If you think getting Bush out is important, so is retaking the House and Senate. That happens seat by seat. This is one of them. Plug into the action at www.bruderly.com or 352-379-7230 and ask for Josh.
Iguana picks for August 31 primary
U.S. Senate: CASTOR
Public Defender: PARKER
Supervisor of Elections: SHARPE
County Comm I: BYERLY
County Comm III: DELANEY
Circuit Judge: HALL
County Judge 3: SPRINGFIELD or GREEN
County Judge 5: JAWORSKI
School Bd 2: ROY
School Bd 4: JONES
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