19 candidates to vie for four council seats
A field of 19 candidates is now set for this year’s municipal election, representing four seats on city council.
Incumbents will seek re-election in three of races, but it’s mostly a slate of political newcomers.
In District 2, incumbent Pete Brandt faces four challengers, including landscaper Dan Sheppard, retired police officer John Miehle, business consultant Joseph Coviello, and retired police officer John Caroscia.
In District 3, incumbent Bill Deile is set to square off against retired school teacher Alan Sheppard and Cape Coral firefighter Leonard Nesta Jr.
Sitting council member Erick Kuehn, who was a controversial appointment by a council majority last year after the governor suspended Eric Grill, decided to sit this next election out.
His seat will be filled by one of seven candidates, this year’s most crowded race. Candidates include: Publix employee Richard Leon, Finance Advisory Committee member and City Hall volunteer Rana Erbrick, retired city of Cape Coral employee Charles Stanton, construction company owner Bennie Barnes, attorney William “Scott” Morris, retiree Carlos Alvarez and James B. McManus.
In District 7, incumbent Derrick Donnell faces three challengers, including Charlotte County fire fighter David Stokes, engineer Erica Nicole Warren and youth pastor Michael Garr.
Now that the field is set, the many candidate forums will follow.
The Civic Association will host its primary forum on Tuesday, Aug. 23, at 7 p.m. at the Cape Coral Yacht Club, according to Civic president Lyndia Bradley.
Bradley said she was happy to see so many candidates announced in the races and thinks it’s indicative of the mood among voters.
“I think people want to see a change,” she said. “I think people aren’t too happy with the direction of the city.”
The city of Cape Coral will host its candidate forums on Aug. 25 – 26, two races each night, at 7 p.m. at city hall.
Eilyn Sobeck-Bador, from the “Get Out and Vote … Take Back the Cape” facebook group, said they do not plan on endorsing any of the candidates, but instead plan to continue to encourage people to vote.
Sobeck-Bador said she feels this election will bring out more than a mere 18 percent of registered voters.
“I think folks were asleep last time. I think they didn’t realize what happens on a local level affects them far more than what happens on a national level,” she said.
Mayor John Sullivan did not return requests for comment.
It is also unknown if any of the candidates represent the “Road Ahead” platform, which spawned candidates, and eventual winners, including Sullivan and Councilman Chris Chulakes-Leetz in the last municipal election cycle.
Early voting for the non-partisan primary will be Sept. 3 – 10; election day is Sept. 13.
Early voting for the general, or run off elections, will be Oct. 31 – Nov. 5; election day is Nov. 8.
All voters may cast a ballot in each race as council members are elected city wide.