County commission District 5 draws contest

With sitting county commissioner Joseph “Ken” Bryan becoming an announced candidate, a three-way contest is brewing for the District 5 seat which he currently occupies — and, even though he appears confident in his ability to achieve re-election, his opponents say they are in the race to win.

If all candidates qualify, previously announced Republican candidate Alan Kelso will face Bryan and Priscilla Leedom Bennett, who goes by “Rachael”, during the Republican Primary Election on August 14, 2012.

The election could be decided at that time if no other party candidate enters the race.

Bryan was defeated in 2006 in his original bid for the County Commission — at that time, running as a Democrat for the District 2 seat; won, instead, by Republican candidate Ron Sanchez. Bryan returned to run two years later — but, in 2008, he changed his district to district 5 and claimed he was a Republican.

Florida is a “closed primary” state — i.e. Democrats vote for Democrats, Republicans vote for Republicans in the Primary Election. They cannot cross party lines until the General Election.

However, if no one else enters this race, Kelso, Bennett and Bryan will face each other in the Primary Election. All registered voters will cast a ballot, regardless of their individual party affiliations. The majority vote getter wins the election and the contest will not appear on the General Election ballot in November. They will take office in January.

The same scenario applies so long as any additional candidates for this seat run as Republicans.

Should Bryan decide to drop out of the race, the two remaining candidates will automatically advance to the General Election and there will be no Primary Election.

Should Bryan decide to restate his party affiliation to Democrat, he would be guaranteed a slot on the November ballot. The winner of a primary contest in August, between Kelso and Bennett, would become Bryan’s opponent in the General Election.

If a fourth candidate enters the race, and they have no party affiliation, or are affiliated with any party, other than Republican, they will advance to the November General Election — the high vote getter among the Republican candidates moves on to the General Election November 6, 2012.

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