UPDATE: Postponed indefinitely per Executive Oder 20-97 from Gov. Ron DeSantis. Elections will be rescheduled “as soon as practicable.”
In the wake of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19), Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley is seeking to delay the April 14 municipal elections Dade City, Zephyrhills and San Antonio.
To that end, Corley has requested Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to move back the local county elections to the Aug. 18 state primary election date.
Corley told The Laker/Lutz News he’s had ongoing discussions on the matter with intermediaries Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee, State Division of Elections Director Maria Matthews, and incoming Senate president Wilton Simpson.
However, no decision was made by The Laker/Lutz News Monday press deadline.
Corley cited the “health and safety” of voters and poll workers in wanting reschedule the municipal elections.
The elections supervisor said it doesn’t make sense “having the public come to an election day polling place, to their own possible health peril, when our average age is not exactly, really, really young.” He also said “asking members of the public to come out and vote” runs contrary to the governor’s stay-at-home executive order.
City managers of the three local municipalities have concurred delaying the municipal election, Corley said. Holding those elections concurrently with the primary election poses no additional financial costs to those cities, he said.
The county elections office is mandated to hold the April 14 election, until it hears otherwise from the governor’s office, Corley said.
Here is a closer look at each election:
Six candidates are running for three open seats on the Dade City Commission — for Groups 3, 4 and 5.
In Group 3, two-term incumbent Jim Shive is being challenged by Matthew Wilson. Shive is a retired government employee. Wilson is a data entry clerk for the United Parcel Service.
Groups 4 and 5 seats will see fresh faces, as Nicole Deese Newlon and Eunice Penix are not seeking re-election. Newlon served one four-year term after she won in 2016, while Penix has held her seat since 1993.
Vying for Newlon’s Group 4 seat are Ann Cosentino and Knute Nathe.
Cosentino owns a communications/branding consulting firm. Nathe is an attorney with McCLain Alfonso P.A.
Christopher King and Normita Woodard are facing off for Penix’s Group 5 seat. King is the founder of The Gentleman’s Course Inc., a local youth mentorship charity. Woodard is a secretary at Lacoochee Elementary School.
The Dade City municipal election will take place at First Baptist Church Dade City, 37511 Church Ave., in Dade City. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
In this election cycle, the City of Zephyrhills will have a mayoral race, as incumbent Gene Whitfield faces off against Justin Docherty.
Whitfield has held the mayor chair since 2014 when Danny Burgess resigned to run as the area’s state representative in Tallahassee.
The Zephyrhills mayor serves mainly an ambassador’s role, being a presence at many public events, ribbon cuttings and so on. As far as citywide matters, the mayor doesn’t run council meetings, cannot make motions and cannot vote on matters before the council, but does have the ability to veto city ordinances.
On the Zephyrhills City Council, Seat 2 incumbent Alan Knight is running unopposed.
Knight is a retired educator who’s worked mainly in Pasco County Schools as a teacher, coach and administrator. He was first elected to the seat in 2014.
The Zephyrhills municipal general election will be at the Alice Hall Community Center, 38116 Fifth Ave., in Zephyrhills. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Five candidates are vying to fill three open seats on the San Antonio City Commission.
Running are incumbents Elayne Bassinger and Sarah Schrader, along with Joseph Couture, John Vogel and Dacia Wadsworth Mitchell.
Unlike the head-to-head matchups of other municipalities, the top three overall vote-getters earn commission seats. San Antonio commissioners serve two-year terms.
For more voting information, contact the Pasco County Supervisor of Elections office at (800) 851-8754 or (352) 521-4302, or visit PascoVotes.gov.
Updated April 09, 2020