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Candidates gear up for home stretch

By Staff | Oct 5, 2017

The results of the Cape Coral City Council Primary are in and, for the winners, its now a one-month push to the finish for the Nov. 7 General Election.

Joe Coviello and Michael Hollow advanced in the seven-candidate mayoral race with 31.42 and 18.27 percent of the vote respectively.

John Gunter and Graham Madison Morris will tangle in District 1 after they got 45.67 percent and 35.48 percent respectively in the three-candidate Primary.

In District 4, Jennifer Nelson will face incumbent Richard Leon. Nelson culled 42.81 percent to Leon’s 35.98 in the three-way Primary.

Meanwhile, candidates for Districts 5 and 6, races which did not appear on the Primary ballot, are now down to the final run toward November.

The candidates all say they are ready for the home stretch.

* Mayor:

Two businessmen, Joe Coviello and Michael Hollow, were the two left standing in the crowded mayoral race Tuesday, which will be decided in the General Election.

Coviello said time is short and he intends to move forward in a positive manner, doing the same things his team did in the primary.

“We’re reaching out to donors and high-level people in the community and looking for endorsements, and gearing up a plan for things to do in order to campaign effectively,” Coviello said. “We’re just ramping up the pace a little bit.”

Hollow also wants to build a positive image for Cape Coral and make sure the residents are heard.

For him, that means hitting the bricks and going to the big events.

“I’m not just talking to residents, I’m hearing what they have to say. The city has had a lot of negative publicity the last couple years, so we have to rebrand it,” Hollow said. “I want to make sure the residents have a voice. We have a lot of things in the works.”

* District 1:

John Gunter and Graham Madison Morris will face off in the Nov. 7 General Election.

They were the top-two vote getters in a three-way Primary Tuesday.

Gunter said, as a business owner for 30 years, he knows how to budget and lead as how to run a major concern. He said he will continue to drive hard as he did in the Primary to get the word out.

“I have a different mindset from those who don’t have a business attribute,” Gunter said. “We’re putting the effort into it to make sure we get the word out to the people.”

Morris said he is going to lean on the local organizations

“I think all my volunteer activity in the city and the time I spent getting to know people and being a past president of the Civic Association helped,” Morris said. “I just have to get the information out there and let the voters decide.”

* District 4:

Jennifer I. Nelson and incumbent Richard Leon were the top two vote-getters in the District 4 Cape Coral City Council Primary Tuesday.

Already, a couple of jabs have been thrown.

Nelson said she plans on emphasizing her 24 years of experience in “servant leadership” at Goodwill Industries as an example of what she can do.

“My experience level is better suited for the seat and our city,” Nelson said. “I have the experience to move things forward and help people and getting their goals accomplished.”

Leon, who already poked Nelson regarding her leaving the area during Irma, said he will highlight his incumbency and being a lifelong Cape Coral resident.

“I have the history with the city. We have someone from California who doesn’t know the city or the people,” Leon said. “I’ve always tried to work with the people to work things out and do the best for the city.”

* District 5:

As the only two candidates running for the District 5 seat left vacant when the then-sitting council member, Rana Erbrick, resigned to run for mayor, James Schneider and David Stokes did not appear on the Primary ballot.

Both plan to run full bore from here to November.

For Schneider, it will be more difficult, as he will have to stop campaigning next week due to a death in the family and so the need to leave the country. But after keeping his signs out of sight until after the primaries, he said will do as much as he can.

“The signs are about to happen and I will do other things, such as attending a festival this weekend and my people will be out with signs waving,” Schneider said.

Stokes said he will walk the streets and do every event he can to gain voters, but he also plans to use social media as a campaign tool. Other than that, he was hesitant to discuss strategy further.

“Social media is the way to reach people the fastest. I really don’t want to let too much out of the bag. I want to keep things close to the vest for the next five weeks,” Stokes said. “I plan on running a strong campaign and getting as many voters as possible.”

* District 6:

Incumbent Rick Williams and challenger John Karcher, as the lone candidates for District 6, will do battle in the General Election Nov. 7.

Karcher said he has been using social media as a way to connect, putting up videos and messages and trying to convey a positive message. But the big push is now and the window of opportunity small.

“I have a group of people knocking on doors for people we’re going after. With early voting, it doesn’t give us much time. Most who voted (in the Primary) did so early,” Karcher said. “We need to make an impact in the next few days.”

Williams agreed that time is of the essence, and that the actions of the next few weeks could determine the outcome. He will use the same strategy he has employed, but with more urgency.

“I will be attending forums coming up, nothing extraordinary, just doing things a little faster,” Williams said. “Everything that has to be done for the mail ballots has to be done quickly.”

The voter registration book closes Tuesday for the General Election. Those not registered who plan to cast a ballot in November must do so by that deadline.

Mail ballots are expected to be sent out early next week, the Supervisor of Elections Office said.

For more information or to request a ballot visit lee.vote/tag/vote-by-mail/

The deadline to request a mail ballot is Nov. 2. They must be returned by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Early voting will take place from Monday, Oct. 30, to Saturday, Nov. 4, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated.