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Primary, General Election ballots firm up

5 Cape Coral City Council seats to be decided

By CJ HADDAD - | Jun 18, 2024

The qualifying period for the 2024 election cycle culminated last Friday, as those looking to toss their hat in the ring to be an elected official must have submitted the proper documents by the deadline.

Things were a bit different this year for the Lee County Elections Office, under the watch of Supervisor of Elections Tommy Doyle, as they were processing more candidates in more races than in previous elections.

“This year’s qualifying period was different, as we handled qualifying for the City of Cape Coral and the Town of Fort Myers Beach candidates,” Doyle said.

Ballots are not quite set in stone.

“We are just waiting for the certified list of State candidates from the Division of Elections,” Doyle said.

All in all, this November’s election will play a vital role in the future of Southwest Florida communities and beyond.

“Local, countywide and municipal elections are essential in shaping the future of our communities,” Doyle said. “In those elections, residents have the opportunity to choose the leaders who will represent them and address the needs of the community.”

Among the offices up this election cycle are Cape Coral City Council seats for Districts 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.

Now qualified:

In District 2, incumbent Dan Sheppard, Craig Unroe, and Laurie Lehmann.

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.

In District 4, incumbent Richard Carr, William Matthews, Robert J. Sutter and former District 4 council member Jennifer Nelson.

In District 5, incumbent Robert Welsh, Joseph Kilraine, Jason Conzelman and Charles Pease.

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

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 two candidates in the partisan race: Denise Carlin, a Republican, and Victor Arias, a Democrat.

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

In District 1, incumbent Kevin Ruane, a Republican, has qualified.

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

In District 5, incumbent Mike Greenwell (REP), Amanda Cochran (REP) and Kizzie Fowler (DEM) have qualified.

Lee County School Board seats are also up this year.

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

In District 2, incumbent Melisa Giovannelli and Carol Frantz have qualified.

In District 3, Bill Ribble and Kaitlyn Schoeffel have qualified.

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

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

All have an incumbent seeking re-election.

Supervisor of Elections: Incumbent Tommy Doyle (REP) has qualified, as has Michael “Mick” Peters (REP).

Lee County Sheriff: Incumbent Carmine Marceno (REP) has qualified, along with Michael D. Hollow (Write-In).

Lee County Tax Collector: Incumbent Noelle Branning (REP) has been elected with no opposition.

Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller: Incumbent Kevin Karnes (REP) has been elected with no opposition.

Property Appraiser: Incumbent Matt Caldwell (REP) and Steve Cunningham (REP) have qualified.

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.

The Lee County Supervisor of Elections office mailed Vote-by-Mail and Early Voting informational notices to approximately 348,000 Lee County voters on Monday.

The notice was mailed to voters without a Vote-by-Mail Request on file for the 2024 Primary or General Elections, officials stated, with its purpose to engage and inform them of alternatives to traditional Election Day voting.

The notice contains essential information about the upcoming elections, officials said. This includes key election dates and deadlines, instructions for requesting a mail ballot and Early Voting dates, times and locations.

Early voting for the Aug. 20 Primary will be held from Saturday, Aug. 10, through Saturday, Aug. 17, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.

Early voting for the Nov. 5 General Election will run from Monday, Oct. 21, through Saturday, Nov. 2, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.

“Voting before Election Day offers voters the opportunity to save considerable time,” stated Doyle. “It’s important that voters are aware of the different methods of voting available that can make the process of casting their vote more convenient for them. We remain dedicated to empowering voters and want to encourage more people to take an active part in voting.”