Yes, 2014 is an election year. Without a presidential election driving the news cycle, this very important fact may escape the attention of some folks only remotely plugged in. Nevertheless, offices at the state and local level are up for grabs. Below are the pertinent dates to jot down on your calendar.
Primary Election: August 26
In order to vote in the primary elections, you must register to vote by July 28, 2014.
General Election: November 4
To vote in the general election, you must register to vote by Oct. 6, 2014.
For a list of candidates for local offices, visit escambiavotes.com/current-candidates-and-finances. For a rundown of candidates statewide, visit election.dos.state.fl.us/candidate/Index.asp.
In the governor’s race, Republican incumbent Rick Scott is one in a field of dozens of registered candidates. Scott’s most active opponents are former State Senator Nan Rich, D-Weston, who has been campaigning since 2012, and former Republican Governor turned Independent turned Democrat Charlie Crist, who announced his candidacy in November 2013.
The office of Florida Attorney General is also up for grabs, with Republican incumbent Pam Bondi at this point facing Democrats George Sheldon and Perry Thurston, Jr. and Libertarian Bill Wohlsifer. Races for the state’s Chief Financial Officer and Commissioner of Agriculture will also take place.
Representing this region of Florida in Washington, D.C., U.S. Representative Jeff Miller, the Republican incumbent for U.S. Congressional District 1 is currently facing registered candidates James Bryan-D, John Krause-R, and Travis Miller-R.
Current Florida State Senator Greg Evers, R-District 2 is presently the only candidate filed to run for that office, which represents all of Escambia and Santa Rosa counties and the northern part of Okaloosa County. See flsenate.gov/Senators/Districts for a breakdown of current district boundaries.
As for the Florida House of Representatives, incumbent Rep. Clay Ingram-R is currently the only registered candidate for the District 1 seat. Mike Hill, R-District 2 again faces campaign against Democrat Jeremy Lau. The two previously squared off for that position in a special election held in early 2013. State House districts 1 and 2 fall within Escambia County, while voters in Santa Rosa County will vote for a representative for District 3. Republican incumbent Doug Broxson will face Republican Jamie Tabisz-Smith in the District 3 primary. For a view of current State Representative district boundaries, visit election.dos.state.fl.us/district-maps.shtml.
On a local level, Mayor Ashton Hayward currently faces opposition from registered candidates Charles Bare and Donna Clark. City Council Members Sherri Myers (District 2), Larry Johnson (District 4) and Brian Spencer (District 6) are also up for reelection. County Commissioners Gene Valentino (R-District 2) and Grover Robinson IV (R-District 4) are also up for reelection, facing opposition from registered candidates Ray Guillory-D and Michael Lowry-D, respectively. Positions on the Escambia County Utility Authority, Santa Rosa Island Authority and Escambia Soil and Water Conservation District are also vacant this election cycle.
Cheat Tip: Let The League Do The Legwork
To stay informed during this and every election year, the League of Women Voters of the Pensacola Bay Area is an excellent source of information. The League publishes a “Guide to Elected Officials” for Escambia and Santa Rosa counties, complete with contact and term information. The non-partisan group also publishes a Guide to Candidates during election years, something to keep an eye out for as November approaches. Visit lwvpba.org for general election information and to view the guides as they become available.