Tuesday’s Primary Election drew 28.81% of registered voters in Lee County. Ahead of the county average, Fort Myers Beach voters showed an average 36% turnout for the three island precincts.
How do people choose to vote? Overwhelmingly via mail in ballot. 73.2% of Lee County ballots were cast by mail in ballot. Early voters accounted for 8.3% of ballots with just 18.5% of voters choosing to show up at the polls Tuesday. Their choices were:
Lee County Commission District 3
Incumbent Larry Kiker defeated Dick Anderson 50.78% to 49.22% to win the Republican nomination. With Kiker facing a write-in in November who has admitted to entering the race solely to close the primary, his primary victory will unquestionably give him another four years on the BoCC. Pay: $88,504/year.
Lee County Commission District 5
Incumbent Frank Mann beat former Fort Myers Police Chief Ken Dobson 54.05% to 45.95%. Mann will now face Democrat Diane Zigrossi and No Party Affiliation (NPA) Sonny Haas in the General Election on November 8th. Pay: $88,504/year.
Lee County Sheriff
Incumbent Mike Scott easily won over challenger and former deputy Stephanie Eller 85.15% to 14.85%. With this win, he will face NPA James Didio, another former deputy, in the November 8th election, though no NPA candidate has ever won a seat in Lee County. Pay: $156,642/year
Supervisor of Elections
This election could have decided the next Election Supervisor if any one candidate had received over 50% of the vote. Incumbent Sharon Harrington came the closest with 43.05%. Next was Tommy Doyle with 33.46%. Those two will now face off in the November election. Other candidates drew significantly fewer votes: Dan Sinclair (10.15%), Carmen Salome (8.17%) and James Hefren (5.18%). Pay: ~$127,000
School Board District 3
With the incumbent Cathleen Morgan opting to run for a new at-large seat, both candidates were new to the race. Chris Patricca won the seat over Lori Fayhee 52.84% to 47.16%. Patricca will take her seat in November and will earn about $40,000/year as a School Board member.
School Board District 6
This new seat on the School Board is part of the board’s shift to seven board members, approved by voters in 2014. Five of them are elected solely by members of their district, with two at-large seats (#6 and #7) voted on by the entire county. School Board is a non-partisan board. Candidates are on the primary ballot and if no single candidates tallies over 50% of the vote, the top two candidates then face each other on the November ballot. With no incumbents for these seats, though several candidates had past board experience, no one candidate hit that 50% mark. As a result Jane Kuckel (42.83%) will face Don Armstrong (26.45%) in November for Seat 6. Other candidates for Seat 6 were: Charles Dailey (17.64%) and Richard Dunmire (13.08%).
School Board District 7
With five candidates for this new seat, votes were spread further and no one hit the 50% mark. Cathleen Morgan (32.68%) will face Chris Quackenbush (27.16%) in November. Other candidates for Seat 7 were: Betsy Vaughn (16.72%), Derrick Donnell (15.00%) and Guido Minaya (8.44%)
Florida Senate District 27
Incumbent Lizbeth Benacquisto easily defeated challenger Jason Maughan in this Republican race 68.59% to 31.41%. She will face Dakota Eads, another write-in candidate who has stated that his sole purpose in qualifying was to close the primary so only Registered Republicans could vote. Pay: $29,607/year.
U.S. Congress District 19
Vying to replace Curt Clausen, Francis Rooney (50.02%) defeated two candidates in the Republican primary: Chauncey Goss (32.59%) and Dan Bongino (17.40%). Rooney will face Democrat Robert Neeld and write-in David Byron in the November 8th election. Pay: $174,000/year.
The formerly crowded Republican field thinned considerably after Marco Rubio jumped back into the race. With just four names on the ballot, Incumbent Marco Rubio easily won the Republican nomination with 67.94% of the vote. Challengers were Carlos Beruff (22.14%), Dwight Mark Anthony Young (7.08%) and Ernie Rivera (2.85%).
Patrick Murphy handily won the Democratic Primary over four challengers with 53.04% of the vote. Pam Keith received 21.42% of the vote; Alan Grayson (17.50%), Roque De La Fuente (6.11%) and Reginald Luster (1.93%) also ran.
Paul Stanton won this rare primary with 78.76% of the vote to Augustus Invictus 21.24%. In November, the ballot will include Rubio, Murphy and Stanton plus several NPA and write in candidates, but watch for the race to focus on Rubio and Murphy. Pay: $174,000/year.
Voters in Lee County and Florida overwhelmingly approved an amendment that eliminates taxes on solar energy panels for both residential and business property owners. Lee County voters approved it with a 71.98% margin, while statewide voters approved it 72.62%
The General Election will be held on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. While it will include elections for President and Congress, it will also include state, county and local seats on the ballot, including a contested seat on the Fort Myers Beach Fire Control District Board of Commissioners. In order to vote in the November 8th election, voters must be registered in Lee County by October 11, 2016. For more information on how to register, sign up for a mail-in ballot or any other election question, contact the Lee County Elections Office at 239-LEE-VOTE or email firstname.lastname@example.org.