Kinnard, three others re-elected without opponents

Kinnard, three others re-elected without opponents

By reporter Mike Wright, as published in the Citrus County Chronicle June 12, 2020:

The 2020 ballot is set and Jeff Kinnard can breathe easy.

Kinnard became the first incumbent county commissioner in 16 years to be re-elected automatically without opposition, joining three other Citrus County elected officials who won’t have to sweat a campaign.

Also automatically re-elected without opposition are Clerk of Courts Angela Vick, Tax Collector Janice Warren and District 4 School Board member Sandy Counts.

Candidates had until noon Friday to qualify for the ballot.

Kinnard, elected to office in 2016, said he was humbled by the support.

“I haven’t had a chance to have it sink in yet, but it’s an honor,” he said. “I take that as people are willing to give me another term to continue to serve. I’m delighted. I’m excited. I’m ready to move forward.”

It’s rare for a county commissioner to go unopposed at re-election time. Vicki Phillips was the last to do it in 2004, Supervisor of Elections Susan Gill said.

Counts, elected to her first term in 2016, said she appreciated the trust the public placed in her.

“I’m blessed by being part of this board and our school system,” she said. “This was my first venture into politics. I thought I could be of service to kids and teachers.”

Here are some ballot highlights:

• The ballot is heavy loaded for the Aug. 18 primary, not so much for the general election. Three partisan races — county commission Districts 3 and 5, and supervisor of elections — have only Republican candidates, so all voters regardless of political affiliation may vote in these contests.

• School board incumbent Ginger Bryant is facing opposition for the first time since her initial election in 2000. Danielle Damato Doty, daughter of former county commissioner Dennis Damato, and school teacher Mark Garlock oppose Bryant.

The school board race is nonpartisan, open to any registered voter. The top two finishers face off in the general election, unless the overall winner receives at least 50% plus one vote. If that happens, that person wins the race and there is no runoff.

• County Commission District 3 has six Republican candidates and no incumbent. Commissioner Jimmie T. Smith, who was elected four years ago in District 3, moved to District 5 when incumbent Brian Coleman said he wouldn’t run again. Smith faces Holly Davis in the primary.

• State Rep. Ralph Massullo has opposition for the second time after initially running unopposed four years ago in District 34. Citrus Hills resident Dushyant Gosai, a Democrat, faces Republican Massullo in the Nov. 3 election.

• The battle for U.S representative District 11 is a rematch of 2018: Republican incumbent Daniel Webster of Mineola vs. Democrat Dana Cottrell of Spring Hill. That race is on the Nov. 3 election ballot.

• Two races will go to the November ballot with a Republican primary winner facing a no-party affiliation candidate. Richard “Rick” Schroeder is the NPA for property appraiser; Lee Alexander is NPA for sheriff.

• Two constitutional offices — property appraiser and supervisor of elections — are on the ballot because the incumbents chose to retire.

Elections Supervisor Susan Gill is endorsing her operations director, Maureen “Mo” Baird. And Property Appraiser Les Cook said this week he is endorsing Timothy Reynard, his deputy appraiser who is one of four candidates in the Aug. 18 Republican primary. 

“I’ve taken a good look at all the candidates, and he has got so much more,” Cook said. “He’s put in a lifetime of work with appraisals. That’s the key — appraiser.”

Cook said he doesn’t know how much his endorsement will help.

“It’s up to Mr. Reynard to make his case to the public,” he said.

• All three seats on the Homosassa Special Water District board have one candidate each, so all three are automatically elected. They are: Lora Sipos, Heidi Miller and Rodney MacRae.

• Voters throughout the Fifth Judicial Circuit, composed of Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Marion and Sumter counties, elect a judge even if that position isn’t stationed in Citrus County. 

Such is the case on the Aug. 18 primary ballot. George Angeliadis, the former Crystal River city attorney who was appointed circuit court judge in 2018, faces Brooksville attorney Pam Vergara whose husband, Sonny, is a former executive director of the Southwest Florida Water Management District. The position is based in Hernando County.

Contact Chronicle reporter Mike Wright at 352-563-3228 or [email protected].