by Joe Courter
First understand that unless you are registered as a Democrat you will have no choice in the partisan State and County races. It is the way our system works.
Voting is math, be strategic. You have until July 30 to change. But the primaries are where idealism can shine, about who can fight for what you believe in. Use your voice.
When we get to November, it reverts back to math again, and even if your ideal did not become a candidate, if you are sensible you move forward with practicality.
Here’s the rundown in my eye.
U.S. Senate: Incumbent Bill Nelson will have some challengers in the primary, but the main event is in November, against Rick Scott.
Florida Governor: We like Andrew Gillum in the primary. Philip Levine is also pretty progressive. Gwen Graham mainstream Please no circular firing squad.
U.S. Rep. District 3: Defeating Yoho is much desired. Dushyant Gosai, Yvonne Hinson Hayes and Tom Wells are in the primary as challengers. All three would be vast improvements in what will be a tough race thanks to gerrymandering; hopefully, unity will reign after the primary.
State Senate District 8: Kayser Enncking and Olysha Magruder are Democrats running to unseat Keith Perry. Both women are strong candidates, with the former a doctor and the latter a teacher. We like Olysha a lot, definitely the more progressive; Kayser meanwhile has a ton more money (and donations to rather conservative organizations), but again, high hopes for unity in November to defeat Perry.
State Rep. District 21: Unseating Chuck Clemons is the goal here. As of now, there are two democrats in the primary, Jason Haeseler and Amol Jethwani. Amol is very active with College Democrats and has a fired up youthful core of workers and progressive vision. Jason is solid and picking up good endorsements. Once again, a hope for unity after the primary.
Alachua Co. District 2: Democratic Primary is a race between two really nice people on the Democratic side–Randy Wells and Marihelen Wheeler–in a race to succeed Lee Pinkoson; either will be a vast improvement, though Marihelen is more the activist and strong advocate. Randy has a strong backround and solid ideals as well.
Interesting, the Republican brand is so toxic, a very well-funded conservative opponent named Scott Costello awaits the winner in November, running as a NPA (no party affiliation). No reason to believe the Wheeler and Wells teams won’t unify, but Republican and Chamber of Commerce big money may muddy this up for November.
Circuit Court Judge District 8 : Gail Walker has strong support from good people.
County Judge Group 2: Craig DeThomasis would be our pick; again, well regarded Attorney and track record.
Alachua County District 4: Ken Cornell drew no challenger. Re-elected
School Board District 1: We’d like Tina Certain to defeat incumbent April Griffin. Need a new voice to challenge disparities in our community. It’ll be work but needs to get done.
School Board District 3 and 5:Gunnar Paulson and Rob Hyatt looking to be re-elected.
Soil and Water Group 3: Not the most prominent position, but when an avowed white supremacist was facing no opposition, up stepped a young progressive woman to challenge. Vote for Kaithleen Hernandez.
This looks like what the Aug. 28 ballot will look like. Whether early (Aug. 16-25) or on Election Day vote. Vote! Make sure your friends understand its importance and that they vote. People died for their right to vote. It is the least you can do. Vote. D