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Everyone can cast a ballot in Aug. 18 primary

By Staff | Aug 13, 2020

Early voting for the Aug. 18 Primary Election will wrap up Saturday at a number of locations throughout Lee County, including three here in the Cape.

Polling locations will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and Saturday at the Cape Coral — Lee County Library at 921 SW 39th Terrace; the Northwest Regional Library at 519 Chiquita Blvd. N, and the Lee County Elections Office – Cape Coral Branch Office at 1039 SE 10th Ave.

And everyone can vote as there are races open to all voters, regardless of party affiliation, including three Cape Coral City Council seats.

Registered Republicans need little reminder about the importance of Tuesday’s election — the ballot is jam-packed with primary races open only to those voters.

Republicans will select their nominees in a plethora of important races including the candidate-packed Congressional District 19 primary where there are nine, yes nine, candidates hoping to be the party’s nominee for the seat currently held by retiring Francis Rooney.

Other Republican primaries of note include the hotly contested race for Lee County Sheriff. Incumbent Carmine Marceno, the agency’s former undersheriff who was appointed sheriff by then-governor Rick Scott when former sheriff Mike Scott retired, faces James Leavens. Leavens is a long-tenured employee with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office who rose to the rank of major and watch commander before his retirement.

Republicans also will select their nominee in three county commission races where, in District 1 Michael J. Dreikhorn and Kevin Ruane will square off, District 3, where Nicholas “Nick” Batos is challenging incumbent Ray Sandelli, and District 5 where Steven Patrick Haas has challenged incumbent Frank Mann.

Add in primary races for state House (District 77, Bryan Blackwell and Mike Giallombardo) and Senate (District 27, Heather Fitzenhagen and Ray Rodrigues); and Lee County Property Appraiser (Matt Caldwell and Matt Miller) and it is a crowded — and key — ballot for Republicans, indeed.

Democrats, meanwhile, also will select their nominee in one of those key races. Cindy Lyn Banyai and David Holden face off in the Democratic Primary for Congressional District 19.

Here in the Cape, Republicans and Democrats — and every other registered voter for that matter — also have much more to weigh in on the Aug. 18 primary ballot.

All voters, regardless of party affiliation and the district in which they live, can cast a ballot in three Cape Coral City Council races as well as the at-large school board race.

Vying for our votes in Tuesday’s everyone-votes municipal primary are, by district:

District 2: Bryan DeLaHunt, Todd Maurer and Dan Sheppard

District 3: Chris Cammarota, Tom Hayden, Joseph Kilrane and Edward Nichols

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

The top two vote-getters in each race will advance to the Nov. 3 General Election, which also will offer the District 5 Cape Coral City Council race which has two candidates, Louis Navarra and Robert Welsh.

For Cape residents, both the Primary and General Election matter as the four seats constitute half of the elected board.

All voters also can cast a ballot in the District 7 at-large School Board seat, one of three on the ballot.

School board races constitute a paticularly important decision this year as issue No. 1 for the School District of Lee County is how to educate — and educate safely — our children in the midst of a pandemic. Running for the everyone-votes District 7 seat are Pete Bohatch, incumbent Cathleen Morgan and Curt Sheard.

If you have your mail-in ballot and have not sent it back, now’s a good time to return it. Yes, vote-by-mail is safe here in Lee County where you can actually track on line that it has been received, and when it has been counted.

If you prefer to vote early or on election day, the Supervisor of Elections Office has put some pandemic-related safeguards in place for poll personnel and voters alike.

Still undecided?

We invite you to read our election coverage online where we have posted stories and bios on the local candidates running as well as all of The Breeze issues-related “questions of the week” for Cape Coral City Council candidates. Find coverage under “Cape News.”

If local government matters to you, the Aug. 18 Primary is a big one. Make your vote count.

— Breeze editorial