14 line up for council
Qualifying for Cape Coral municipal elections ended Friday, with three additional candidates beating the noon deadline.
Joseph Trunkett and Onil Martinez, Jr. qualified for the District 6 race, and Chris Chulakes-Leetz entered the District 4 race.
One person who attempted to qualify Friday for the District 1 seat, Sam Huber, was disqualified because he could not provide documentation verifying he lived in Cape Coral for the entire calendar year in 2008.
Trunkett and Martinez will square off against John Cataldi Jr., Kevin McGrail, and Frank Antos, Jr., who qualified earlier this week, for the District 6 seat. Chulakes-Leetz challenges incumbent Dolores Bertolini for the District 4 seat.
In the District 1 race, Jim Martin and Kenneth McClain will vie for the seat.
The slate of mayoral candidates is also set, with incumbent Jim Burch facing challenges from former mayor Roger Butler, city activist John Sullivan, Robert Pizzolongo, and Stephen Lovejoy.
Because the District 1 and 4 races feature only two candidates, they will skip the Sept. 15 primary and head straight to the Nov. 3 general election. In the other races, the top two vote-getters in the primaries will advance to the general election.
Candidates are eager to strike out on the campaign trail now that the campaign season has begun in earnest.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Martin said, adding that his main issues in District 1 are restoring The Golf Course to a functioning course and finding a solution to the impasse between the CRA and LCEC over transmission lines downtown.
Of course, the contentious UEP also will be an issue for all candidates.
“My basic belief is that ultimately we will have to have utilities but we need to put it off for two or three years,” Martin said.
Burch is also looking forward to the campaign season, but is anticipating negative campaigning over the UEP issue.
“I will campaign on what I’ve been doing all along which is promoting the city of Cape Coral. I suspect there’s another side to this thing, which is the fear-mongering and the scare tactics,” Burch said.
Although Bertolini didn’t find out who her opponent was until Friday, she said she was prepared for anything.
“I geared myself for both a primary, for just a general election, and I geared myself to have no candidate come out against me,” Bertolini said.
For the mayoral and District 6 races featured in the primary election, there will be debates held Aug. 27-28 at 7 p.m. in council chambers.