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McCroan, Rich re-elected to BOCC

Tim Croft
tcroft@starfl.com

The face of county government will receive only light touch-ups this election cycle.

Candidate qualifying for the Aug. 18 primary ended last Friday at noon, with a host of incumbents never needing to lift a finger to campaign.

County Commissioners Phil McCroan and David Rich were re-elected to four year terms after they drew no opposition.

Also drawing no opposition, and therefore re-elected to new four-year terms were Property Appraiser Mitch Burke, Clerk of Court Becky Norris, Tax Collector Shirley Jenkins, Superintendent of Schools Jim Norton and Supervisor of Elections John Hanlon.

Beyond those offices, the four remaining races could be categorized into two groups, the two that will certainly be decided in August and the two that seem headed to the general election in November.

Decided Aug. 18

The races to be decided during the primary evolve from the same district, District 3.

The race for the BOCC District 3 seat is set between Patrick Farrell and Joan Lovelace.

Both are running as Republicans make this a universal primary: all District 3 voters are eligible to cast ballots, regardless of party affiliation.

Whoever has the most votes Aug. 18 wins the four-year term after Commissioner Jimmy Rogers decided to retire after one term.

The District 3 School Board race pits incumbent Cindy Belin against challenger Carl Fox.

School Board races are non-partisan so all voters in District 3, regardless of party affiliation, will be eligible to cast ballots and the winner on Aug. 18 earns a four-year term.

Decided in November

One campaign is a certainty for November, the other all but certain to survive to the general election.

The certainty is the race for Sheriff.

Incumbent Mike Harrison and challenger Rhett Butler are both running as Republicans and had been until this month the only announced candidates.

But Jobie Barfield jumped into the race as a Democrat, so the primary will determine which Republican survives until the general election to face Barfield.

The all-but-certain race is that to replace the late Billy Quinn, Jr., in the District 4 School Board seat.

There are five candidates: in alphabetical order, Thomas Buttram, Deborah Crosby, Marvin Davis, Charles Gathers and Amy Rogers.

For the race to end in August, one of those candidates must earn at least 50 percent-plus one of the vote.

As Hanlon noted, during his more than two-decade tenure at the elections office, he has never handled a campaign with so many candidates in which one received a majority of the votes during the primary.

And if no candidate accomplishes a majority in August, the two with the most votes will advance to the November general election.

All voting will take place at two locations, the Supervisor of Elections Office in Port St. Joe and the Wewahitchka Public Library, as has been the case since Hurricane Michael.

A voter may choose either location to cast their ballot, regardless of where they live.

As of the beginning of early voting, Saturday, Aug. 8, both polling locations will be open 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. ET each day straight through Aug. 18.