Candidates Qualify for Election


Candidates for the August 30th Primary Election and the November 8th General Election, were set last Friday noon when the official Qualifying Period ended. Candidates for federal, state, county and local special districts were set and in some cases, results determined, if only one candidate qualified for a seat.


Fort Myers Beach Special Districts
Library, Fire & Mosquito Boards

Here on Fort Myers Beach, all three Library Board seats that would have been on the ballot in November were filled when only one candidate per seat qualified. Sallie Seabury (Incumbent), Rick Sebastian and Miffie Greer (I) were all elected Friday. Their terms begin in January 2017.

Joanne Semmer (I) will retain her seat on the three-member Fort Myers Beach Mosquito Control Board, while Bill Semmer will fill Seat 3 on the board.

The Fort Myers Beach Fire Control District will see John Pohland (I) face off against challenger Ronald Fleming in November. The other seat up for election will be filled by Larry Wood (I), who drew no challengers.


Lee County Races

While most local elections will be decided in the November 8th election, there are a few decisions that voters will be asked to make in the August 30th Primary. But don’t let the “Primary” label fool you; the August election is NOT just for registered Republicans or Democrats. All registered voters will be asked to vote on several non-partisan races in August.

Open to all voters in August is the Lee County Supervisor of Elections primary. If the winner has 50% plus one vote, that candidate will be considered elected. However, if the winner has less than that total, the top two candidates will face each other on the November ballot. Qualified candidates for this non-partisan seat are: Tommy Doyle, Sharon Harrington (I), James Hefren, Carmen Salome and Dan Sinclair.

All Island voters will also be asked to weigh in on Lee County School Board seats for District 3 (our district) and District 6 & 7 (two new at-large district seats). District 3 candidates are Lori Fayhee and Chris Patricca. District 6 candidates are: Don Armstrong, Charles Dailey, Richard Dunmire and Jane Kuckel. District 7 candidates: Derrick Donnell, Guido Minaya, Cathleen Morgan, Chris Quackenbush and Betsy Vaughn. The School board elections works like the Supervisor of Elections seat in that if the winner of any seat fails to get 50% plus one vote, the top two vote getters will be on the November ballot

All voters in August will also be asked to choose a County Judge GR4 with two candidates on the ballot: Leah Harwood and Archie Hayward Jr, (I).


Republican Primary

The Republican primary is full of county and state office candidates. Voters who have registered to vote as members of the Republican Party will select their candidate to appear on the November ballot for U.S. Congress, the Florida Legislature, Lee County Commissioners and Lee County Sheriff.


Federal Office

Qualified for the 19th Congressional District race and appearing on the Republican ballot are Dan Bongino, Chauncey Goss and Francis Rooney. The winner will face a November election including a Democrat plus two write-in candidates.

Vying to represent Florida in the U.S. Senate are Republicans Carlos Beruff, Ernie Rivera, Marco Rubio (I) and Dwight Young. The November race will include the winners of the Republican, Democrat and Libertarian primaries plus several No Party Affiliation (NPA) and write in candidates.


State Office

State Senate District 27 drew Republicans Lizbeth Benacquisto and Jason Maughan who will face each other on the August ballot as write in candidate Dakota Eads qualified for the race and closed the primary.

State House District 76 has only two qualified candidates, Ray Rodrigues, Republican (I) and Charles Messina (NPA). As a result, this race will appear only on the November ballot.


County Office

The Lee County Commission District 3 race drew three qualified candidates: Republican Larry Kiker (I), Republican Dick Anderson and write in candidate, Eli Zonona. Kiker and Anderson will be on the August Primary ballot.

Commission District 5, which all Lee County voters elect, drew Republicans Frank Mann (I) and Ken Dobson who will be on the August ballot. Sonny Haas (NPA) and Democrat Diane Zigrossi will join the winner on the November ballot.

Lee County Sheriff drew two Republican candidates, Mike Scott (I) and Stephanie Eller. NPA James Didio will face the winner of the August Primary in November.


Democrat Primary

In a relatively rare Democratic primary in SWFL, several Democrats have qualified to run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Marco Rubio: Rocky de la Fuente, Alan Grayson, Pam Keith, Reginald Luster, and Patrick Murphy.


Libertarian Primary

Even more rare, Florida will see a statewide Libertarian primary in August when Augustus Invictus and Paul Stanton face off in the U.S. Senate primary.


Unopposed Candidates

Additional candidates, all incumbents, winning their seats by being unopposed include Linda Doggett for Lee County Clerk of Court; John Manning for Lee County Commission District 1; Kenneth Wilkinson for Lee County Appraiser, Larry Hart for Lee County Tax Collector, Steve Brown and Therese Everly for Lee Health Board District 1 and Sandy Cohen and David Collins for Lee Health Board District 3.


November Election

In addition to federal, county and state seats, whose candidates will be determined by the August Primary, Island voters will see two local races on the ballot in November. Fort Myers Beach Fire Control District Seat 2 and the two seats representing District 5 on the Lee Memorial Health Board that drew a total of three candidates: Stephanie Meyer (I), Jessica Peer (I) and Minnie Jackson.

All local candidates who will be on the ballot in August and November will be invited to share their opinions in the Island Sand Paper-giving our readers the opportunity to get to know their views and positions prior to voting. A copy of the Sand Paper’s Campaign Policy is available by email or in the office at 1661 Estero Blvd #4A, Fort Myers Beach.


Who Can Vote?

PRIMARY ELECTION: You must be a registered voter in Florida by August 1, 2016 to vote in the Primary Election on August 30th. All registered voters are allowed to vote for non-partisan races on the primary ballot. To vote in the Republican, Democrat or Libertarian primary, you must have registered to vote as a member of the Republican, Democrat or Libertarian Party.

GENERAL ELECTION: All registered voters by October 11th can vote in the November 8th election. Voters can update a registration, but new registrations will not be effective until after the election.

VOTER REGISTRATION SITES: Lee County Elections Office maintains several locations where voters can register in person. Visit or call 239-LEEVOTE to find an election office, find your precinct, ask for a voter registration form, request a vote by-mail ballot or find your elected officials. As we approach the August and November elections, sample ballots will also be available.


Missy Layfield