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Qualifying to run for city office ends Friday at noon

By CJ HADDAD - | Jun 13, 2024

Those looking to qualify to run for local elected office are running out of time.

Qualifying opened at noon on June 10, and closes at noon Friday, June 14.

Among the offices up this election cycle are Cape Coral City Council seats for District 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7.

City residents hoping to serve on the eight-person elected board must be a registered elector of the city, a permanent resident, a continuous, full-time resident of the city for the entire calendar year preceding their qualification of office, and must reside in the district in which they are seeking office.

Cape Coral City Council races are non-partisan. Council members are elected at-large meaning voters may cast a ballot in each race regardless of the district in which they live. Terms are four years, and members are limited to two consecutive terms.

As of late Thursday afternoon:

In District 2, a seat currently held by Dan Sheppard who is seeking re-election, he and Craig Unroe have qualified. Laurie Lahmann has announced.

In District 3, the seat is held by Tom Hayden who has announced he will not seek re-election, Derrick Donnell, Daniel J. Ludlow, Deborah Lee McCormick and Chad Bruening have qualified.

In District 4, incumbent Richard Carr is running for re-election and has qualified as have William Matthews and Robert J. Sutter. Former District 4 council member Jennifer Nelson has announced.

Robert Welsh is seeking re-election in District 5 and has qualified to run as have Joseph Kilraine and Charles Pease.

In District 7, Jessica Cosden has termed-limited out and so cannot seek re-election. Michael David Harper and Rachel Kaduk have qualified.

The total cost for qualifying for Cape Coral City Council candidates is $519.19.

The period to qualify for all county elective offices also runs from noon on June 10 to noon on June 14.

For the first time since the ’70s, Lee County voters will elect a superintendent of schools. The race’s victor will be elected to a four-year term.

Current superintendent, Dr. Ken Savage, has said he will not run. As a result of a voter initiative which turned the role into a constitutional office, he will be the last superintendent to be appointed by the Lee County School Board.

There are currently three candidates in the partisan race: Denise Carlin, a Republican, and Victor Arias, a Democrat, have qualified. Morgan Wright, a Republican, has announced.

There are three Lee County Commission seats up for a vote this year.

In District 1, incumbent Kevin Ruane (REP), as of press time Thursday, is the only candidate who has qualified.

In District 3, Ray Sandelli is not seeking re-election. David Mulicka (REP), and Matthew R. Thornton (REP) have qualified.

Mike Greenwell (REP) is seeking re-election in District 5 and has qualified as have Amanda Cochran (REP) and Kizzie Fowler (DEM).

Lee County School Board seats are also up this year.

These are non-partisan races with some candidates elected at large, others by district.

Incumbent Melisa Giovannelli has qualified to seek re-election in District 2. Carol Frantz has also qualified.

In District 3, Bill Ribble has qualified.

In at-large District 7, Vanessa Melbis Chaviano has qualified. Sheridan Chester and Joshua D. Molandes have announced.

All of Lee County’s constitutional offices are up this election year.

All have an incumbent seeking re-election.None had a challenger as of press time.

Supervisor of Elections: Incumbent Tommy Doyle (REP) has qualified.

Lee County Sheriff: Incumbent Carmine Marceno (REP) has qualified.

Lee County Tax Collector: Incumbent Noelle Branning (REP) has qualified.

Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller: Incumbent Kevin Karnes (REP) has qualified.

Property Appraiser: Incumbent Matt Caldwell (REP) has qualified.

Candidates can submit completed qualification documents by visiting the Supervisor of Elections Main Office at 2480 Thompson St., 3rd floor Auditorium, Fort Myers by noon.

The primary election is Aug. 20, with the General Election to take place Nov. 5.

Candidate information may be found on the Lee County Elections Office website at lee.vote/Candidates/Archived-Candidate-Lists.

Opportunities to meet the candidates

A slew of opportunities to meet and hear from potential Cape Coral City Council members will take place in the coming months.

Those scheduled to date include:

• On June 18, Mercola Market of Cape Coral will host a “Meet Your Local Candidates” event from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., hosted by 92.5 FOX News Radio.

This event will be an interactive forum designed to promote transparency, dialogue, and informed decision-making as we approach the primary elections, organizers said.

It will be free to attend and includes light refreshments.

Marcela Market is at 125 Southwest 3rd Place.

• The Brotherhood of Heroes Resource Center and Museum will host a candidate meet-and-greet event on June 26 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Organizers state this will be a great opportunity for residents to meet with candidates in the upcoming election, and ask questions.

Light refreshments will be provided.

The Brotherhood of Heroes is at 4522 Del Prado Blvd. S.

• On July 23, the Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce will host a 2024 Candidates HobNob at the Kiwanis Club of Cape Coral.

The free and open-to-the-public event will run from 5:30 to 8 p.m., where attendees can meet the 2024 city, county, state, and federal candidates.

There will be a straw poll conducted by the Lee County Supervisor of Elections.

To RSVP, visit www.capecoralchamber.com.

The Kiwanis Club of Cape Coral is at 360 Santa Barbara Blvd.

• The Cape Coral Construction Industry Association will host Cape Coral City Council candidates at its monthly dinner meeting on Aug. 8.

The meeting will run from 5:30 to 8 p.m. and takes place at Cape Cabaret at 4725 Vincennes Blvd.

For more information, visit www.cccia.org.