Local Races Draw Few Candidates


Seven Candidates Unchallenged

Of the eight, local, non-partisan Special District seats up for election in November, only one seat drew more than one candidate by the time the Qualifying Period closed last Friday, June 12.

Fort Myers Beach Fire Board Seat 1 has three qualified candidates who will be on the November 3, 2020 ballot – Keran Farrell, Jim Knickle and Bryan Raymond. The election for Seat 1 is for a two-year term to fill a vacant seat.

The other seven local Special District seats each drew only one candidate who is automatically elected to a four-year term.

Winning election with no challengers were: Fort Myers Beach Fire Board Seat 2: Ron Fleming and Seat 4: Larry Wood.

Fort Myers Beach Mosquito Board had two seats available and both incumbents were the only qualified candidates – Seat 2 Joanne Semmer and Seat 3 William H. Semmer.

Fort Myers Beach Library Board had three seats up for election and will welcome two newcomers. Seat 5 Julianne Schmidt, a newcomer; Seat 6: Rick Sebastian; Seat 7 Sandra Walker, another newcomer. The Library Board installs new board members at their January meeting, held on the fourth Tuesday of the month, making installation nearly three months post-election. The other boards install new members at their first meeting following the election.

Lee County & Beyond

Beyond local Special Districts, Fort Myers Beach voters will vote for School Board Seat 3 and At-Large Seat 7 each with three qualified candidates. At other county-level boards, voters county-wide vote for each seat on the Board of County Commissioners. Seats 1, 3 & 5 are on the ballot this year. Even though a Democratic candidate qualified to run for Seat 3 and Seat 5, all three BoCC races have an out-of-town write-in candidate from Lakeland, Clearwater and Jacksonville, respectively. The August Primary for these races will be closed, meaning that only registered Republicans will be able to vote to choose the Republican candidate that will be on the ballot in November. Only the Republican Party has multiple candidates qualified for these races.

The race for Lee Sheriff drew five candidates – two Republicans, two No Party Affiliation and one Democrat. The winner of the Republican August Primary will be on the November 3 ballot with the Democrat and No Party Affiliation candidates. There will be a race for Property Appraiser in November with Republicans Matt Caldwell and Matt Miller facing off in the Primary. The winner would face a write-in candidate from Osprey in November. Other county constitutional offices went to candidates without challengers: Clerk of Circuit Court Linda Doggett; Elections Supervisor Tommy Doyle and Tax Collector Noelle Branning.

The non-partisan Lee Memorial Health Board elects two seats for each district, with Districts 1, 3  & 5 on the ballot in November. Each seat has 3-4 candidates qualified. All county voters select these seats.

The August 18, 2020 Primary Election will include Republican races in which two or more Republicans have qualified, which is true of most races. Democrats will see choices for the 19th Congressional District race. Aside from those partisan choices, all voters will have choices to make in the August 18 Primary, including two School Board seats.

Get Ready to Vote

To vote in the August Primary, you must be registered to vote by July 20, 2020. If you want to vote in either party primary, you must be registered as a member of the party by July 20.

Supervisor of Elections Tommy Doyle has encouraged all voters to request a Vote-by-Mail ballot so that they can vote safely in their own homes. Lee County voters can track their vote-by-mail ballot online once they mail it back. The deadline to request a vote-by-mail ballot is 5pm August 8, 2020. All ballots must be returned by 7pm August 18 to be counted. Vote-by-mail ballots can be mailed in, hand delivered by 3pm Election Day or dropped off at an Early Voting location. Details at lee.vote

Early voting will be available August 8 – 15, from 10am – 6pm, at eleven locations in Lee County. The closest ones to Fort Myers Beach are the Lee County Elections Center, 13180 S. Cleveland Ave, Fort Myers and the Bonita Springs Elections Office, 25987 S. Tamiami Trail, Bonita Springs.

For more information about voting or the elections, contact the Lee County Supervisor of Elections office at 230-LEE-VOTE or visit lee.vote