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Incumbents look ahead to general election after sweeping primary

By Staff | Aug 30, 2008

With the primaries out of the way, the full slate of incumbent winners in Lee County are fixing their eyes on the general election.

District 1 Lee County Commissioner Bob Janes, who had the closest primary race after edging Cape Coral Mayor Eric Feichthaler, said he is anticipating an easier time in the general election. Janes beat Feichthaler by 1,714 votes, and now faces Carla Johnston (no party affiliation) and A.J. Boyd (no party affiliation) in the general election.

The general election will be “perhaps not as close” as the primary, but said he is taking the challenge from Johnston and Boyd seriously.

“I take each race as if it’s a difficult race and I’m the underdog,” Janes said.

Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott, who ran away with the Republican primary with more than 90 percent of the vote over former sheriff Rod Shoap, is enjoying his victory before settling into the next campaign.

“I’m sort of still basking in the revelry of that last win,” he said.

Scott said he has not yet developed a campaign strategy for his next opponent, Christian Meister.

Meister said he is not awed by Scott’s landslide victory.

“Those are very distorted numbers,” Meister said of the primary results. “You had Democrats that couldn’t vote. You had independents that couldn’t vote.”

Another challenger who is optimistic about his chances of knocking off the incumbent in November is Steve “Sonny” Haas. He is trying to replace Lee County Commissioner Frank Mann in District 5, who beat Shawn Seliger in a heated Republican primary.

Haas, who is running with no party affiliation, said the higher turnout expected in the general election will help his cause.

“I like my odds,” Haas said. He will also have to fend off fellow challenger Dick Kuhn (no party affiliation) for the District 5 seat.

Turnout for general elections is usually much higher than the primaries.

In 2004, 73,456 ballots were cast in Lee County in the primary compared to 241,663 in the general election, according to statistics from the Lee County Supervisor of Elections Web site, “http://www.leeelections.com.”>www.leeelections.com. A total of 59,131 ballots were cast during Tuesday’s primary, a turnout of about 20 percent.

Supervisor of Elections Sharon Harrington said her office is in need of more poll workers to handle the extra traffic during the general election.

“The more people we have working, the faster it will go,” Harrington said.

Those interested in being a poll worker can contact the Supervisor of Elections Office at 533-8683. Pay for the position ranges from $135 to $200, and candidates must attend a class to prepare for it.

Other incumbent primary winners include District 3 County Commissioner Ray Judah and Lee County Property Appraiser Ken Wilkinson.

Judah and Wilkinson each handily defeated their Republican opponents, Anita Cereceda and Kyle Lee, respectively.

Judah will now face Les Cochran (no party affiliation) in the general election. Neither Judah nor Cochran could be reached Friday for comment.

Wilkinson will square up against Democrat John Glaser and Larry St. Amand (no party affiliation) in the general election.

St. Amand says Wilkinson has erred in his assessments of some Cape Coral properties.

I really think they made a mistake on the tax roll,” he said.

The general election will be held Nov. 4 and the ballots will include national and state races in addition to local contests.

General Election races include:

Lee County Commission

In the District 1 race, incumbent Bob Janes of Sanibel will face A.J. Boyd (no party affiliation) of Cape Coral and Carla Brooks Johnston (no party affiliation) of Sanibel in the Nov. 4 general election.

Incumbent Ray Judah of Fort Myers will face Les Cochran of Fort Myers, no party affiliation, in the general election.

Incumbent Frank Mann of Alva, District 5, will face Steve Haas (no party affiliation) of Lehigh Acres, and Dick Kuhn (no party affiliation) of Fort Myers in the general election.

Lee County Sheriff

Sheriff Mike Scott of North Fort Myers will face Christian Meister (no party affiliation) in the general election.

Lee County

Property Appraiser

Incumbent Ken Wilkinson will face Democrat John Glaser of Fort Myers and Larry St. Amand (no party affiliation) in the general election race for property appraiser.

Public Defender,

20th Judicial Circuit

Incumbent Kathy Smith will go up against write-in candidate David Brener in the general election in the race for public defender.

School Board

The school board races were decided Tuesday. Incumbents Jeanne Dozier and Jane E. Kuckel will retain their seats.