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Prequalifying for city, county elections begins

By Staff | May 28, 2020

The prequalifying period for candidates seeking local office stepped off this week.

Prequalifying appointments for City Council Districts 2, 3, 5, and 7, as well as for multiple county offices, began Tuesday at 1 p.m. and will continue until Friday, June 5, at 3 p.m.

The reason for prequalifications is to give candidates some extra time to get their forms and money in, just in case they are out of town or unable to do so during the formal qualification period.

“Qualification has a certain set number of dates. Sometimes people can’t make that because of prior commitments. It’s impossible for them to meet,” City Clerk Kimberly Bruns said. “For that, there’s pre-qualification. The paperwork is collected, but not processed and we don’t deposit the check until qualification starts.”

All candidates for Cape Coral City Council must be a registered voter in the city with continuous full-time residency for the entire calendar year preceding their qualification for office. Candidates qualifying in Districts 2, 3, 5, and 7 must reside in their respective districts although they are elected citywide.

The races are non-partisan.

The filing fee for council seats is $100 plus the Election Assessment fee of one percent of the annual salary which is $34,834.00 ($348.34) for a total of $448.34 which must be paid through the candidate’s campaign account.

Qualification then begins on Monday, June 8, at noon and ends Friday, June 12, at noon.

Candidates who have declared so far, according to the City Clerk’s Office, include:

District 2: Bryan Mark Delahunt and Todd Maurer

District 3: Christopher Cammarota, Thomas Hayden and Joseph Kilrane

District 5: Louis Navarra and Robert Welsh

District 7: Jessica Cosden, (incumbent;) Derrick Donnell and Patty Cummings.

There also are a number of county seats up in 2020.

County elections include three County Commission seats.

According the Lee Supervisor of Elections website, those listed as announced include:

County Commission District 1: Michael Dreikhorn and Kevin Ruane, both Republicans.

County Commission District 3: Nicholas Batos, Ray Sandelli (incumbent), Republicans, and Todd James Truax, a Democrat.

County Commission District 5: Juan Gonzalez, Democrat, and Steven Haas and Frank Mann (incumbent) both Republicans.

There are four School Board seats up. The races are non-partisan.

In school board District 2, candidates announced include Emory Cavin, Charla Strange Fox, Melisa Giovannelli, (incumbent,) and Jeff McCullers.

District 3: Brian Digrazio, Chris Patricca, (incumbent,) and Jacqueline Perez.

District 7, at large: Pete Bohatch, Lisandra Colon, Cathleen Morgan, (incumbent,) Melissa Panneton and Curt Sheard.

School board races are non-partisan.

The Lee County Sheriff’s race has three announced candidates — Carmine Marceno, (incumbent) and James Leavens, both Republicans, and Coach Ray, no party affiliation.

A primary is held if there are more than two candidates running for a seat. If there are just two candidates in a district, they go straight to the General Election in November. If there is only one candidate, he/she automatically gets elected.

At the city level, Bruns said she is making sure the announced candidates are on target and that those who have not announced, but would like to run for office, are made aware of qualifications.

For any candidate, Bruns advised against qualifying at the last minute, just in case.

“If you wait until 11:55 a.m. on June 12, that could be tricky because if you’re missing one of the requirements or you don’t have your bank account opened yet because you haven’t filed the form, there’s no time. I don’t encourage people to wait until the last day,” Bruns said.

The primary election is Tuesday, Aug. 18. Early voting starts Sunday, Aug. 8, through Saturday, Aug. 15, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 3, with early voting from Monday, Oct. 19 through Saturday, Oct. 31, also from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Early voting sites in Cape Coral will be at the Lee County Library 921 S.W. 39th Terrace, the Lee County Elections branch office at 1039 S.E. 9th Ave., and the Northwest Regional Library at 519 Chiquita Blvd. N

To schedule an appointment to prequalify for a Cape Coral City Council seat, contact Bruns at 574-0417.