Candidates seek local offices

OKEECHOBEE — The 2018 election season is well underway in Okeechobee County.

In the race for the County Commission District 2 seat incumbent Byrant Culpepper is challenged by Noel Alton Chandler. Both are Republicans.

In the race for the County Commission District 4 seat, incumbent Terry Burroughs is challenged Fred Darrell Brown. Both are Republicans.

In the School Board District 1 race, Joe Arnold is currently unopposed. School board races are nonpartisan.

In the School Board District 3 race, incumbent Dixie Ball is challenged by Melisa M. Jahner.

In the School Board District 5 face, incumbent Jill Clericuzio Holcomb is currently unopposed.

Five candidates qualified for the county judge seat which will be left vacant by the retirement of Judge Jerry Bryant. The judge candidates are Roger Azcona, Rebecca H. Bolt, Donald Anthony Chinquina, Deborah M. Hooker and William Wallace. Sara Hedges had also registered as a candidate but has withdrawn from the race. Judge races are nonpartisan.

The qualifying period for most state and local candidates is June 18-June 22, 2018.

Candidates for county offices must:

• Be a qualified elector (registered voter) of Florida;

• Live within the county or district designated at the time of assuming office;

• If you are running for county commission, you must live within the district designated at the time of election; and,

• If you are running for school board, you must live within the district designated at the time of qualifying.

Any residency requirement for an office is a continuous one. Failure to maintain the residency throughout the term results in vacancy in office.

Candidates for office may qualify to be on the ballot by paying a qualifying fee or by collecting 200 signatures from registered voters on a qualifying petition based on a percentage of the annual salary for that position. The period to turn in petitions in order to qualify to be on the ballot for county office without paying a filing fee ended May 21.

Candidates may still qualify to run for county office by paying the fee.

County commission seats have a term of 4 years. Qualifying fee is $2,113.68 for Major Party candidates (6 percent of the annual salary of $35,228) pr $1,409.12 for Minor Party candidates (4 percent of the annual salary of $35,228).

School board members serve terms of 4 years. This is a non-partisan position. Qualifying free is $1,102.68 (4 percent of the annual salary of $27,567.) Soil and Water Conservation District is a non-partisan position with a term of 4 years. Qualifying fee is $25.

Judges are elected for 6 year terms. The qualifying period for judge candidates closed on May 4. This is a nonpartisan position. Qualifying fee was $5,520.80 (4 percent of the annual salary of $138,020).

As of May 30, Okeechobee County had 8,712 registered Republican voters, 7,365 registered Democrats and 4,072 voters who are registered in minor parties or who have no party affiliation.

The primary election will be held Aug. 28. Voters must be registered by July 30 to vote in the primary.

The general election will be held Nov. 6. Voters must be registered by Oct. 9 to vote in the general election.

For more information online, go to voteokeechobee.com.

Local elections

Publisher/Editor Katrina Elsken can be reached at kelsken@newszap.com

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