Primary Election gobbledygook: Understanding partisan elections

Florida is a “closed Primary” state, which means that during Primary Elections, voters may only vote for candidates of their own political party; Democrats can only vote for candidates who are Democrats, Republicans can only vote for candidates who are Republicans.

The General Election in November is “open” in that you can vote for any candidate who qualified, but only if they survive their Primary.  So long as all candidates for an individual seat are from the same party, all voters will get to vote regardless of party affiliation.  But if even one candidate is from a different party from the others, or running as an independent or without party affiliation, or as a write-in, the Primary Election is closed.

Historic City News readers have criticized this process in the past when, often during the last days of qualifying, a “strawman” or “spoiler” enters an otherwise open Primary.  And, because they are almost always a write-in candidate, not a likely or even a serious candidate, they pay no qualifying fees to enter the race, and the only thing accomplished is to close the Primary Election; prohibiting all registered voters from voting — except those from the party they are protecting.


Seat 4, vacated by outgoing commissioner Jay Morris, has garnered six qualified candidates.  However, only four names will appear on the August 28th ballot; and, those names, only on the ballots of registered Republican voters.

Although he is a registered Republican, John C. (Jack) Gorman, chose to run with no party affiliation.  Had he run as a Republican, all voters, Democrats, Independents, Republicans, Tea Party Candidates, etc., would have voted in an open, or “universal” Primary Election for County Commission Seat 4.  He closed the Primary.

At the eleventh-hour on the last day of qualifying, the most highly contested local race drew a write-in candidate.  In the history of available recordkeeping of St Johns County elections, no constitutional officer or county commissioner has ever been elected as a write-in candidate.

Daniel James Heiser Sr, a 25-year-old resident using his mother and father’s home address in the Keswick section of Royal St Augustine, spent over a half-hour filling out forms to qualify for Seat 4 as a write-in candidate.  The address is in District 2, not District 4, but he was allowed to qualify anyway.  Heiser lists no employer or other source of income, no assets or liabilities.  On his financial disclosure, he lists no bank account; however, he says his net worth is $1,588.  I guess he just carries it around in his pocket.  His name will not appear on any ballot materials. Instead, in the November General Election, the winner of the Republican Primary Election, and the no-party candidate, Jack Gorman, will face-off against a blank line.  Had Gorman not already closed the Primary Election, Heiser would have.


The list of candidates, alphabetically by office sought, that qualified on Friday, are:

Justin Mirgeaux N/P Airport Authority Group 2
Victor Raymos N/P Airport Authority Group 2
Bruce Maguire N/P Airport Authority Group 3
Carl Youman N/P Airport Authority Group 3
Jeanne Moeller N/P Anastasia Mosq Control Dist. – Seat 2
Karen Cornwell N/P Anastasia Mosq Control Dist. – Seat 2
Merrill Paul Roland N/P Anastasia Mosq Control Dist. – Seat 2
Catherine Brandhorst N/P Anastasia Mosq Control Dist. – Seat 4
Peter Miele N/P Anastasia Mosq Control Dist. – Seat 4
Trish Becker N/P Anastasia Mosq Control Dist. – Seat 4
Tom Reynolds N/P City of St. Aug. Beach Comm. – Seat 3
Undine C. George N/P City of St. Aug. Beach Comm. – Seat 3
Donald J. Samora N/P City of St. Aug. Beach Comm. – Seat 5
Rosetta Bailey N/P City of St. Aug. Beach Comm. – Seat 5
Bill McClure N/P City of St. Aug. Comm – Seat 3/Mayor
Jackie Rock N/P City of St. Aug. Comm – Seat 3/Mayor
Nancy Shaver N/P City of St. Aug. Comm – Seat 3/Mayor
Jill Pacetti N/P City of St. Augustine Comm – Seat 4
John Valdes N/P City of St. Augustine Comm – Seat 4
Wade Ross N/P City of St. Augustine Comm – Seat 4
Chris Ellis N/P City of St. Augustine Comm – Seat 5
Nancy Sikes-Kline N/P City of St. Augustine Comm – Seat 5
Daniel Heiser WRI County Commission – Dist 4
Dick Williams REP County Commission – Dist 4
Erika Alba REP County Commission – Dist 4
Jeremiah Blocker REP County Commission – Dist 4
John C. (Jack) Gorman NPA County Commission – Dist 4
Nicholas Michael Dudynskay REP County Commission – Dist 4
Scott J. Nyman N/P Durbin Crossing CDD – Seat 3
Tim Brownlee N/P Durbin Crossing CDD – Seat 3
Alan Fernandez N/P Heritage Landing CDD – Seat 2
Christine Mallatt N/P Heritage Landing CDD – Seat 2
Achara McNair-Tarfa N/P Heritage Landing CDD – Seat 3
Johnny M. Kuca N/P Heritage Landing CDD – Seat 3
April Lombardi N/P Heritage Landing CDD – Seat 4
Robert Och N/P Heritage Landing CDD – Seat 4
Alison Golan N/P Julington Creek Plantation CDD-Seat 1
Cindy Howell N/P Julington Creek Plantation CDD-Seat 1
Gary Jurenovich N/P Ponte Vedra MSD – Seat 1
Gordon Blalock N/P Ponte Vedra MSD – Seat 1
Mark Helman N/P Port Waterway and Beach – Group 1
Sandy Flowers N/P Port Waterway and Beach – Group 1
Jerry Dixon N/P Port Waterway and Beach – Group 3
Matt Brown N/P Port Waterway and Beach – Group 3
David Butler N/P Rivers Edge CDD – Seat 2
Randy Schaublin N/P Rivers Edge CDD – Seat 2
David Couch N/P Rivers Edge CDD – Seat 4
Mac McIntyre N/P Rivers Edge CDD – Seat 4
Flores Jill N/P Sampson Creek CDD – Seat 5
Steve Sharpe N/P Sampson Creek CDD – Seat 5
Abigail Levrini N/P School Board – Dist 4
Denver Cook N/P School Board – Dist 4
Kelly Barrera N/P School Board – Dist 4
Daniel Stansky N/P Sweetwater Creek CDD – Seat 1
Robert Lisotta N/P Sweetwater Creek CDD – Seat 1
Ian Rankin N/P Sweetwater Creek CDD – Seat 2
John V. Williams N/P Sweetwater Creek CDD – Seat 2
Stephen J. Handler N/P Sweetwater Creek CDD – Seat 2
Brian J. Wing N/P Turnbull Creek CDD – Seat 1
Kathleen Venezia N/P Turnbull Creek CDD – Seat 1
Chris DelBene N/P Turnbull Creek CDD – Seat 3
Michael T. Murray N/P Turnbull Creek CDD – Seat 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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