Historic City News was informed that on last Wednesday, two new candidates filed initial papers for the District 1 (Northwest St Johns County) seat currently held by Rick Scott appointee, James K. (Jimmy) Johns.
In what had been a one-man race since the incumbent filed for election on August 11, 2015, is now a three-way contest that will force a primary and general election.
On May 25th, Merrill P. Roland, and Albert J. Abbatiello, each announced their candidacy; filing documents with Supervisor of Elections Vicky Oakes appointing a campaign treasurer, establishing a campaign bank account, and a statement that they have been provided access to read and understand the requirements of Chapter 106, Florida Statutes.
If all three candidates actually qualify between Noon, June 20th and Noon, June 24th, a Primary Election will be held to decide whether it will be Johns or Abbatiello facing Roland in the General Election in November. Because Roland is running without party affiliation, his entry into the race bars all Democrats and other party voters from participating in that decision.
Only registered Republican voters are allowed to vote in closed Republican Primary Elections. The same would be true if two or more Democrats were running for the same seat — only registered Democrats would be allowed to vote in that closed Primary.
Since candidate petitions had to be submitted by May 23rd, Abbatiello and Roland will each have to pay a qualifying fee; in Abbatiello’s case, running as a Republican, the fee is $4,220.28. Since he is running without party affiliation, Roland will only have to pay $2,813.52.
Qualifying papers will be accepted beginning June 6, 2016 – pursuant to Section 99.061(8), F.S.
The winner of the race will not be called until the conclusion of the General Election in November. Each of the five St Johns County Commissioners are paid an annual salary of $70,338, plus benefits.