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Candidates vie for Levy County seats

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By Jeff M. Hardison

BRONSON - Even though qualifying does not begin until June 16 at noon and end on June 20 at noon, there are 21 people seeking to fill 10 Levy County posts, according to records.

One person has already dropped out of the race - even before the official qualifying date.

Melody LaFlam of Bronson, who lists no party affiliation, had opened a financial account to challenge incumbent Supervisor of Elections Connie Asbell for her office but LaFlam has withdrawn, according to records. As of last Thursday, Asbell was the only person seeking the post.

Primary races are set for Aug. 26, but Republican Party candidates in four races already have guaranteed a Nov. 4 county election to decide those winners, unless they withdraw before the primary.

Bobby McCallum (D-Chiefland) is challenging incumbent Sheriff Johnny Smith Jr. (D-Bronson). If no other person qualifies in that race, it will be decided in a primary because both men are Democrats.

The same is true in the race between Bruce Greenlee (D-Williston) and incumbent Clerk of Court Danny Shipp (D-Bronson).

Three Levy County Commission races are scheduled for November as a final deciding point, as a result of Republican candidates, according to records.

Dave Bibby (D-Williston) and Abraham Blitch (R-Trenton) are challenging incumbent County Commissioner Tony Parker (D-Bronson) for the District 1 seat.

Raye Kooiman (R-Inglis) and Al Macri (D-Morriston) are want the District 3 seat held by incumbent County Commissioner W.S. "Sammy" Yearty (D-Gulf Hammock).

Cal Byrd (D-Williston) and Jerry Robinson (R-Williston) face incumbent Commissioner Danny Stevens (D-Williston) for the District 5 seat.

Incumbent Property Appraiser Francis Akins (D-Bronson), Osborne Barker (R-Chiefland) and Anthony Phillips (D-Chiefland) all are listed as having opened accounts in the race for property appraiser.

Incumbent School Board members Beth Davis of Cedar Key and Paige Brookins of Chiefland are currently unopposed in the their races, which arfe non-partisan. Likewise, Jeff Edison (D-Chiefland) is the only candidate for Levy County Superintendent of Schools, because incumbent Superintendent Cliff Norris announced his retirement.

Tax Collector Linda Fugate has opened an account to show her intent to qualify and run for election, but no other person has opened an account in that race.

The complete tally of everyone who is running in Levy County elections, however, will not be finalized until qualifying ends at noon on June 20.