IT'S NOT TOO EARLY FOR THE LOCAL CANDIDATES, EITHER!
While much of the attention is being focused on the presidential candidates, we're seeing that a year-plus ahead is not too early for local politicos to begin qualifying for the ballot. Of course, most of those who have opened campaign accounts are incumbants hoping to raise enough coin to scare away potential opponents, but we're seeing some new faces anyway.
Here's the list we're seeing from the office of Polk County Supervisor of Elections Lori Edwards:
POLK COUNTY COMMISSION - DISTRICT 1
Don Gifford (R) - Lakeland - The former commissioner for this district has not officially opened a campaign account yet, but told Lakeland Ledger political writer Bill Rufty that he plans to challenge current incumbant and fellow Republican Bob English, saying he feels that English is vunerable for supporting a tax increase for infrastructure.
POLK COUNTY COMMISSION - DISTRICT 3
Edwin V. Smith (R) - Lake Alfred City Commissioner. Retired U.S. Navy officer and former Dean of Students at Auburndale High School.
POLK COUNTY COMMISSION - DISTRICT 5
Jim Brown (Reform)
STATE ATTORNEY - TENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
Jerry Hill (R) - Incumbant seeking his sixth term in the post. Former Public Defender.
FLORIDA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES - DISTRICT 63
Seth McKeel, III. (R) - Incumbant - Lakeland Real Estate Agent. He is a fifth generation Floridian whose grandfather served on the Polk County School Board and actually has two schools named after him (Thanks for the reader who provided the correction!)
FLORIDA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES - DISTRICT 64
Philip Walker (R) - Lakeland Insurance Agent. This seat will be vacated by Incumbant Republican Dennis A. Ross of Lakeland, who is term limited. Walker is seeking to become the first Black to be elected to the Legislature from Polk County.
FLORIDA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES - DISTRICT 65
John Wood (R) - He is seeking the seat currently filled by Incumbant Republican and Speaker Pro Tempore Marsha L. "Marty" Bowen of Haines City, who is term-limited.
FLORIDA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES - DISTRICT 66
Baxter G. Troutman (R) - Incumbant - Winter Haven Citrus Grower and Employment Agency Business Owner.
FLORIDA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES - DISTRICT 79
Mike Horner (R)
FLORIDA STATE SENATE - DISTRICT 15
Paula Dockery (R) - Incumbant - Lakeland Insurance Agent, Citrus and cattle grower. Spouse is multi-millionaire businessman C.C. "Doc" Dockery.
FLORIDA STATE SENATE - DISTRICT 17
J.D. Alexander (R) - Incumbant - Lake Wales Citrus Grower. Grandson of the late citrus/cattle mogul and former legislator Ben Hill Griffin, Jr.
UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES - DISTRICT 5
Ginny Brown-Waite (R) - Incumbant - Brooksville
UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES - DISTRICT 12
Adam H. Putnam (R) - Incumbant - Bartow Citrus/cattle businessman. Currently Chairman of the House Republican Conference
UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES - DISTRICT 15
Paul Rancatore (D)