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Voters can expect a candidate-heavy ballot

By Staff | Jul 3, 2013

With one day left to qualify to run for office, the ballot for the Cape Coral City Council is shaping up to be a fat one.

As of late Wednesday afternoon six candidates – Dan Ashby, Vincent Cummings, Gordon Ultsch, former District 1 and 3 councilman A.J. Boyd, David Carr, and incumbent John Sullivan had qualified for mayor. A seventh candidate, Marni Sawicki, was “98 percent qualified,” city clerk Rebecca van Deutekom said.

“I say the cliche, I’m crazy enough to make a difference,” Sawicki said. “My business background, education, what I can bring to the table, I think can make for positive changes for Cape Coral.”

The candidates had myriad reasons to run for the four seats up for grabs. Some felt it was an obligation to the city.

“I wanted to give back to the community that gave so much to us after what happened to my son Corey Kent,” said Ashby, whose soldier son was severely injured in Afghanistan. “I believe I have the business background to move this city forward instead of always looking back.”

“It’s a lifetime calling for me. I’m a native son and have been raised in the community,” Cummings said. “Having a thorough background in public management, I feel I’m the most qualified candidate.”

“I’ve been involved in politics here. I have the time and the interest. It was either this or run in District 6, so I decided to run for mayor,” Ultsch said.

“It’s easier to get things done on the inside than the outside,” said Carr, who qualified Wednesday. “I’m a CPA so I can read the city financials and do a good job of being mayor.”

As for the incumbent, he said he still has much work to do for the taxpayers.

“I think I can still do a lot of good for the people and businesses of Cape Coral,” Sullivan said. “I ran because I think I can help the taxpayers.”

Rick Williams qualified in District 6, while Richard Leon qualified in District 4.

“I grew up in Cape Coral and wanted to give back to my city. I’ve been in the political game for three years and I think it’s time we had a good direction in District 4,” Leon said.

Williams could not be immediately reached for comment.

Chris Chulakes-Leetz and Kevin McGrail, incumbents in districts 4 and 6, respectively, qualified on Wednesday.

“My business card says ‘Paving the way to a better Cape Coral.’ I plan on seeing our infrastructure improve as we go into the future,” McGrail said. “I’m putting my asphalt where my mouth is.”

“I love the work and the challenge it provides and because I’ve been urged to by so many residents and citizens of Cape Coral,” Chulakes-Leetz said as to why he will seek re-election.

Steven Golub and David R. Headd qualified Wednesday for the District 1 council seat while Jim Burch, former mayor and a former District 1 councilman, qualified Wednesday.

The incumbent, Marty McClain, has said he will not seek a second term.

“We need leadership and experience on the council and that’s why we’re running,” said Burch, who rode with Boyd to fill out the qualifying paperwork Wednesday morning.

Boyd served on council from 1998-2007. After being term-limited out of his council seat, he made an unsuccessful bid for the mayor’s seat in 1993. Burch was a councilman in 2007 before being appointed mayor in 2008.

Golub and Headd touted new ideas.

“This city is run by good ol’ boys, and it’s ruined the city,” Golub said. “We have not been represented. The city has been run as a thing, not as you or I or as neighbors.”

“I want to bring new blood to the council and continue with the fiscal integrity that was developed over the last few years,” Headd said.

Additional candidates are expected to qualify Friday.

Van Deutekom said she has given out many qualifying packets to either prospective candidates or members of their team.

“It’s not required that they give information before the period. Some have others pick up the packets for them. Some want to download the forms,” Van Deutekom said. “But they all have to be done by 1 p.m. on Friday.”

Early voting for the primaries will take place from Aug. 31 to Sept. 7, with the primary election on Sept. 10. Early voting for general elections will run from Oct. 28 to Nov. 2, with Election Day on Nov. 5.

City elections are non-partisan and city wide meaning voters can cast a ballot in each race regardless of party affiliation or the district in which they live,

For more information about qualifying, contact the city clerk’s office at 574-0417.