Election race is on

Posted on February 19, 2016 by Romi White

Mostly incumbents have prefiled for the upcoming 2016 county elections, so the election to watch seems to be the crowded race for Santa Rosa County Sheriff.
Longtime and highly favored Sheriff Wendell Hall has decided not to seek re-election and has endorsed his Chief Deputy Bob Johnson, who is dominating other candidates raising money to become the county’s top cop.
Johnson has amassed $25,825 compared to candidates Robby Way, $8,875.63; Ted Roy, $3,256.26; Hank Shirah, $3,150 and Chris Roper, $2,270
Other local races pale in comparison with incumbents holding significant leads in campaign fundraising efforts.
After the withdrawal of candidate Buddy Powell, Superintendent of Schools Tim Wyrosdick faces only one challenger, Bart Steele, who has raised $200 compared to Wyrosdick’s $17,650 campaign war chest.
Tax Collector Stan Nichols, who has raised $10,550.05 so far, is being challenged by newcomer Dustin Mathews, who has raised $650.
Incumbents who have prefiled but are currently unopposed include: Property Appraiser Greg Brown, Supervisor of Elections Tappie Villane, Clerk of Court Donald C. Spencer, District 5 County Commissioner Lane Lynchard, District 3 Commissioner Don Salter and District 4 School Board Member Jennifer Granse.
Additionally, two previously unsuccessful candidates are again vying for office but as of yet are the sole candidates in their respective races.
D. Mark Cotton of Pace, who twice lost a bid for the District 1 County Commission seat, has prefiled to replace current District 1 Commissioner Jayer Williamson, who decided not to seek re-election so that he can freely run for the state legislature in two years. Spenser Garber has also entered that race.
Joseph M. Pool, who in 2012 lost a bid for the seat held by current District 2 School Board Member Hugh Winkles, prefiled February 12 and is presently the only candidate vying for the seat.
Candidates have until May 23 to submit petitions to qualify for an election, although potential candidates could still qualify ahead of the June 24 deadline by paying to enter the race.