If you are a candidate for a political office, tonight’s candidate workshop, hosted by St Johns County Supervisor of Elections Vicky Oakes, was where you needed to be. About 22 St Johns County men and women, veteran reporter Peter Guinta, Historic City News editor Michael Gold, and two senior staff members from the Elections Office, took about 90-minutes explaining all the changes in Florida’s election procedures.
Knowing how to navigate through the maze of requirements, follow the proper process, and comply with all state and local election laws, sign ordinances, and financial disclosures, is a pretty tall order — and, it all falls on the shoulder of the candidate.
School Board Chairman Bill Mignon attended tonight’s workshop, as did County Commission Chairman Jay Morris. Oakes, Chief Deputy Erica Ward, and Patsy Collins, each took turns explaining various components of the systematic steps necessary to become an elected official — from filing the proper notice stating that you intend to run, to what you have to do with the leftover money in your campaign account when the election wraps up.
Patti Henderson is working on the campaign for Kim Kendall’s County Commission election. Kendall couldn’t attend, so Henderson came in her place — as did two of Kendall’s opponents, first-time candidate Cory “Duke” Mara, and Jeb Smith’s wife, Wendy. City Commission candidates Todd Neville and Grant Misterly both participated in the class. So did Dr. Patricia Gill, from the League of Women Voters, and long-time leader of the St Johns County Democratic Party, Annette Capallia.
Each candidate was offered an assortment of cheat-sheets; designed to help them remember the important filing dates, reporting requirements, a list of all offices that are up for election, or re-election, this year, as well as printed copies of the 110-slide presentation made this evening.