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Hoffman, Lowry re-elected

Tim Croft

The 2020 Port St. Joe municipal election was over the minute it began last week.

With the noon March 25 passing of the deadline for a candidate to qualify for one of two seats in play, Commissioners Brett Lowry and Scott Hoffman were automatically as no challenger stepping forward.

Lowry will hold the Group 3 seat for another two years, his third term.

“I am extremely excited to serve another two years,” Lowry said. “I’m humbled that residents could see what we were doing and nobody came forward to run.

“I am very excited.”

Hoffman will serve another two years in the Group 4 seat, his second term.

“I am thrilled,” Hoffman said. “Thrilled I will not have to put in the time and effort of a campaign.

“It does boost the confidence a little. If anybody had been really upset with what I was doing somebody would have stepped forward (to challenge).”

The lack of opposition for either incumbent, and in turn the absence of any ballot, renders all but moot discussions earlier this year about making changes to the election process.

One, which required commissioner action, was to revert to a system allowing for qualifying by petition, not just qualifying fee.

Commissioners set aside any action until after this year’s election, though noted qualifying by petition is a low bar (for county offices is 1 percent of eligible voters, which in the city would be a very low number).

A second proposal to extend commissioner terms from two to four years was considered for a voter referendum but only if there was a ballot, which would only occur if there were challenges to Lowry or Hoffman.

Commissioners, who ultimately tabled both proposals, also received feedback from the public that opposed the extension of terms.