Pinellas County residents will decide on a number of federal, state, county and municipal races Nov. 6, along with a slew of ballot questions, as Democrats and Republicans, along with those not affiliated with a major parties, fight for votes.
Voter registration deadline is Oct. 9. Residents can register to vote, request a mail ballot, check voter registration status, view sample ballots, find out precinct information and more at votepinellas.com or call 727-464-VOTE (8683).
Mail ballots were sent to military and overseas voters Sept. 21 and started going out to domestic voters Oct. 2. Mail ballots can be requested by email, email@example.com, or call the Elections Office. The deadline to request a ballot be mailed is 5 p.m. Oct. 31.
Early voting is scheduled from Monday, Oct. 22, through Sunday, Nov. 4, 7 a.m.-7 p.m. at any Elections Office. The polls will be open on Election Day, Nov. 6, from 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
On the ballot – local races
Residents who live in District 6 will choose between the winner of the Aug. 28 Republican Primary Kathleen Peters and Democrat Amy Kedron, who ran unopposed in the primary, to fill the seat left vacant by long-time commissioner John Morroni, who died May 20.
District 6 includes Feather Sound to the north, the cities of Pinellas Park and Seminole, the northeast portion of St. Petersburg and areas along the beach south of Indian Rocks Beach.
Peters received almost 48 percent of the vote Aug. 28 against opponent Larry Ahern and Barb Haselden.
The ballot also includes run-off elections for three School Board seats, since no one received a majority (50 percent plus one vote) in the August primary.
Lisa N. Cane and Jeff Larsen are competing for the District 2 at-large seats. Larsen received 46 percent of the vote in the primary election to Cane with 37 percent. Incumbent Terry Krassner received 16 percent.
Incumbent Peggy O’Shea garnered 42 percent of the vote and Nicole Carr picked up 31 percent Aug. 28. They will face off Nov. 6 for the District 3 at-large position.
The vote was close Aug. 28 for the single-member District 6 School Board seat with Matt Stewart bringing in 37 percent to Bill Dudley with 34 percent. Now, the two will compete for votes to represent the district in the run-off election Nov. 6.
Two positions are up for election on the five-member East Lake Tarpon Special Fire District Board.
Incumbent Tom “Steve” McQueen is taking on Maryellen Crowder, Tom McKone and Peter Nehr for Seat 2. Incumbent Randy Burr will face Tom May for Seat 4.
Gary Coffman is challenging incumbent Rebecca Harriman for Seat 4 on the five-member Lealman Special Fire Control District Board. Incumbent Julie Peluso and Patrick Bengston are vying for Seat 2 on the five-member Palm Harbor Special Fire Control and Rescue District Board.
Voters in Dunedin and Seminole will vote to decide who will serve in leadership roles. In Dunedin, the decision is between Jeff Gow and incumbent John Tornga for Seat 4 on the City Commission. Seminole voters can choose two from a list of five to fill two spots on the City Council. Names on the list include incumbents Chris Burke and Trish Springer plus challengers Dan Hester, Tom Marrah and Kelly Wissing.
In addition, referendum questions will appear on the ballot for residents in Clearwater, Madeira Beach, St. Petersburg, St. Pete Beach, Redington Beach and Tarpon Springs.
Federal, state and multi-county races
Local voters will join with other parts of the state to elect candidates in federal, state and multi-county (district) races.
In the first federal race, voters will pick their favorite candidate for U.S. Senator with Democrat incumbent Bill Nelson being challenged by governor Republican Rick Scott, plus five write-in candidates.
In the races for Congressional Representative, District 12 voters will pick between Republican incumbent Gus Michael Bilirakis, Democrat Chris Hunter and Angelika Purkis, who is a no-party affiliation candidate. The choices for Congressional Representative for District 13 are Democrat incumbent Charlie Crist or Republican George Buck.
Several state leadership positions are up for election, including a replacement for Gov. Scott. The top two candidates for governor and lieutenant governor are Republicans Ron DeSantis and Jeanette Nunez, and Democrats Andrew Gillum and Chris King. In addition, voters will see a pair of Reform Party candidates, three NPA (no-party affiliation) and two write-ins.
Voters also will elect a replacement for Attorney General Pam Bondi, who like Scott must leave office due to term limits. The choices are Republican Ashley Moody and Democrat Sean Shaw and one NPA candidate.
For the job of Chief Financial Officers, the choice is between Republican incumbent Jimmy Patronis, Democrat Jeremy Ring and a write-in candidate.
Voters have two to pick from to replace Commissioner of Agriculture Andrew Putnam, who unsuccessfully ran for governor in the Republican primary. The choices are Republican Matt Caldwell and Democrat Nicole “Nikki” Fried.
Two districts are holding elections for State Senator. In District 16, voters, who live in northern Pinellas and southwestern Pasco counties, will choose between Republican Ed Hooper and Democrat Amanda Murphy to take the job left vacant when former Sen. Jack Latvala resigned Dec. 20, 2017, after being accused of sexual misconduct. The position remained vacant during the 2018 legislative session.
In the Senate District 24 race, Democrat Lindsay Cross is challenging the incumbent, Republican Jeff Brandes.
State representative races in five districts are on the ballot. In District 64, voters living in parts of Pinellas and Hillsborough counties can pick from Republican incumbent James Grant, Democrat Jessica Harrington and NPA candidate Andy Warrener.
Candidates for District 65, located in north Pinellas, are Republican incumbent Chris Spowls and Democrat Sally A. Laufer. In the District 66 race, it is Republican Nick DiCeglie against Democrat Alex Heeren for the position left vacant by Larry Ahern, ousted due to term limits.
Democrat Dawn C. Douglas is challenging incumbent Republican Christopher Latvala to represent District 67, and Republican Ray Blacklidge is running against Democrat Jennifer Webb for the District 69 seat left vacant when Kathleen Peters, who is running for County commissioner.
In three judicial decisions, voters will be asked if Supreme Court Justice Alan Lawson should remain at his job. Voters also will decide whether to retain District Court of Appeal judges Anthony K. Black, Darryl C. Casanueva, Edward C. LaRose and Susan H. Rothstein-Youakim. Lastly, is the race for Circuit Judge, 6 Circuit, Group 4 between Dave Ellis and Roxanne Fixsen.
Look for information about the county commissioner race and school board run-off elections, as well as the 12 ballot amendments is the coming weeks.
For more election news, visit votepinellas.com
Suzette Porter is TBN’s Pinellas County editor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.