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County candidates set for August elections

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By Sean Arnold

A pair of Levy County Commission races and a School Board race highlight the county election season, which could be completely determined by the end of the primary on Aug. 30.

The qualifying deadline for county-wide offices was June 22.

The two County Commission seats both feature a pair of Republicans squaring off, so the races will be decided in the primary, which will be open to voters of all affiliations.

School Board races are nonpartisan and appear on the primary ballot. If there are at least two candidates, the top two vote-getters in the primary will appear on the general election ballot unless a candidate receives a majority of the total vote, in which case she is declared the winner.

Vying for the open School Board seat – District 5, also known as the Yankeetown seat – are Gary Bennett, of Morriston, and Ashley Breeden Clemenzi, of Williston. The seat is currently held by Rick Turner, who is not running for reelection. School Board members serve four-year terms.

County Commission District 2 (Chiefland) will see a race between incumbent Rock Meeks and challenger Terance Reed, both of Chiefland. Meeks, as of June 25, had raised $4,950 in campaign contributions, while Reed had garnered $2,850.

The County’s District 4 (Cedar Key) election features incumbent Lilly Rooks, of Cedar Key, and challenger Ryan Bell, of Chiefland. Rooks had received $5,200 in contributions by June 26, and Bell received $700.

Unopposed county-wide qualifying candidates include: County Judge Tim Browning, School Board District 1 member Cameron Asbell and School Board District 3 member Brad Etheridge, as well as the five members of the Soil and Water Conservation Board – Thomas Harper, David Benton, Wilbur Dean, Joshua Berry and Jacob Sache.

In state partisan races and federal races, voters must belong to a party to vote in its primary election. Florida will see a couple of high-profile races in the fall, including for U.S. Senate, where unopposed incumbent Bill Nelson figures to face Gov. Rick Scott, the favorite on the Republican side.

With the departure of Scott at Governor due to term limits, 20 candidates have qualified to run as his successor. There are seven candidates qualified for agriculture commissioner, and five more vying for the Office of the Attorney General, where Pam Bondi is departing.

For U.S. Representative, incumbent Neal Dunn is running unopposed on the Republican side, and will either face Bob Peters or Bob Rackleff from the Democratic side.

There will also be 13 proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot in the fall, ranging on topics from taxes and School Board term limits to offshore drilling and voting rights for Floridians convicted of some felons.

The registration deadline to be eligible to vote in the primary is July 30. Early primary voting is Aug. 13 to Aug. 25; the primary is Aug. 30.

Visit votelevy.com for more information on voting, candidates and amendment proposals.