It’s an even-numbered year, which means we have plenty of elections to talk about. Here’s a heads up about who has filed to run for what.
But first – some dates to mark on your calendar. Or you can keep up with them on our community calendar!
Election Days this year:
Municipal Elections are March 8th.
Because it’s an even-numbered year, there are no elections for Niceville City Council. Currently, The Valparaiso Mayor’s race has two candidates – and the city commission’s ‘races’ have already been decided.
Early voting for the municipal elections starts on February 28th and runs through March 4th.
In order to vote in the Val-p election – you need to be registered to vote in Valparaiso by February 8th. You can start the registration process here with the Okaloosa Supervisor of Elections.
Primary Elections are August 23rd. Final day to register in order to vote is July 25th.
This year’s General Election is November 8th. Final day to register in order to vote in the election is October 11th.
It may be an election year for two seats on the Valparaiso City Commission – but there won’t be an election held.
Only two candidates filled out the paperwork and stood for office this year by the qualifying deadline. This means that they win by default.
Edwards Crosby and Tom Browning will serve the people of Valparaiso as commissioners.
There are two candidates for mayor in the Val-p election.
Patrick William Palmer is challenging current Mayor Brent Smith for the role of mayor.
Smith took over after Bruce Arnold, Valparaiso mayor for 53 years, died in 2017.
Both candidates have raised less than $1,000 a piece. Smith leads Palmer in number of donors, with 5.
Palmer is hosting a Town Hall on January 31st at 6:00pm at the Valparaiso Senior Center.
According to his Facebook page, Palmer will discuss the fate of the Senior Center amongst other issues that matter to the citizens of Valparaiso.
Note: Florida has what is called a ‘closed primary system.’
Here’s what that means: Only voters who are registered members of political parties may vote for respective party candidates or nominees for an office in a primary election including a presidential preference primary election. A person can register with a party or change his or her party affiliation at any time but in order to vote for a party candidate in an upcoming primary election, the person must register with that party or change his or her party by the registration deadline for that primary election (applicable also to a presidential preference primary election). See section 97.055 in the Florida State Statutes for more information.
However, there are times when all registered voters can vote in a primary election, regardless of which political party they are registered with or even if they are registered without a specific party affiliation:
- If all the candidates for an office have the same party affiliation and the winner of the primary election will not face any opposition in the general election (i.e. no write-in candidates have qualified), then all registered voters can vote for any of the candidates for that office in the primary election.
- If the election is nonpartisan (free from party affiliation) – for example:
- Judicial offices
- School board offices
- Special districts
- Local referendum questions
then all registered voters, including those without party affiliation are entitled to vote in those races on the ballot.
Okaloosa County Commission:
In Okaloosa County, all registered voters vote for each county commission race, even though a commissioner must live in his or her own district.
There are two county commission seats up for reelection this year. District 4, held by Trey Goodwin of Fort Walton Beach and District 2, held by Carolyn Ketchel of Shalimar.
Comm. Goodwin is currently unopposed in his primary and general election races. Goodwin was unopposed in 2018 as well.
Commissioner Goodwin is currently the only candidate filed for the District 4 seat race.
Commissioner Ketchel has two challengers, Matt Turpin of Fort Walton Beach and CareySue Beasley of Okaloosa Island.
It’s early in the race – candidates won’t face the voters until August – but the way the money is coming in, it would be an easy mistake to think the primary was next week.
Commissioner Ketchel has raised more than $165,000 – from a coalition that includes storage unit businesses, Niceville developers, former Sheriff Larry Ashley, current Sheriff Eric Aden, and several bingo halls.
(Note – in order to find the candidates reports from the hyperlinks provided in this article, you will need to change the drop down menu to “2022 Election Cycle”)
CareySue Beasley has the second-most amount stacked up in her campaign coffers, with around $61,000 – most of which was contributed by the candidate herself. In total, Beasley has 11 donors.
The final candidate, Fort Walton Beach banker Matt Turpin, touts years of business experience, a CPA license, connections with the military at Eglin Air Force Base and decades of financial experience. He has raised a little less than $60,000 from around the county. Turpin’s financial experience makes him a threat to Ketchel. Ketchel, as the incumbent, has plenty of institutional money, and is the early favorite.
DISCLOSURE: Christopher Saul, of Mid Bay News, donated to Matt Turpin’s Campaign for County Commissioner.
There are currently no Democrats or independent candidates running for county-wide office.
Currently, no one – including current State Representative Patt Maney – has filed for election in the state house.
Because there are no Democrats, write-ins or third party candidates registered (currently) to run for office, all local partisan elections (meaning elections where candidates affiliate with a political party) will produce a winner for their seat after the primary election in August.
This means we would know who would serve in the Okaloosa County Commission seats as early as the end of Summer.