How I will LIKELY vote in the August elections

August 28, 2018
Primary Elections in Florida
I heard from so many Sparker’s Soapbox readers anxious to complete their ballot that I reconsidered my earlier decision. Rather than wait until mid-August to share how I will vote, in this post, I’ll share my CURRENT THINKING .
But I won’t complete my Vote-By-Mail ballot until much closer to Election Day. New information may come to light, and I want to be able to change my decisions if necessary. I urge others to wait, too.
So here it is — subject to change. Be sure to click on the “background here” links and read my previous posts about the candidates for each of the offices. 
U.S. Senate (background here)
Republican Primary: Rick Scott — Scott’s opponent, Rocky de la Fuente, is simply not to be taken seriously as a candidate. Rick Scott will face Democrat Bill Nelson in November.

    U.S. Congress District 19 (background here)

    Democrat Primary: David Holden — Holden shares my values, priorities, and positions on issues. I admire his intelligence, his drive, his passion for civic engagement, and his willingness to serve, and I know he would be a great Congressman. Importantly, he has the better chance to beat the incumbent in November. As a result, he has my support and I have contributed to his campaign.

    Florida Governor (background here)
    Republican Primary: Adam Putnam — I respect Putnam’s long public service to Floridians, first in the State Legislature, then in Congress, and then as Commissioner of Agriculture. Ron DeSantis’s alignment with President Trump means he’s the candidate least aligned with my values.

    Democratic Primary: Jeff Greene — A late-comer to the race, Greene ( was not a candidate when I did my initial research. I like his rags-to-riches story as well as his positions on the issues I care about. But it’s his personal wealth that gets him my vote. The Florida governor’s race is going to be one of the most expensive in the country, and as much as I wish it weren’t necessary, Greene is willing and able to spend what it takes to win, and to help other Democrats up and down the ticket.

    The winners will face off in November.

    Florida Attorney General

    Republican Primary: Ashley Moody — I like Moody’s background as a judge, and the fact that she founded both an Attorney Ad Litem program and a mentoring program for at-risk children within the juvenile delinquency system. Her long list of endorsements, including those of Collier Sheriff Kevin Rambosk and State Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, shows she is well-respected statewide. I’m uncomfortable with some of her opponent’s TV ads.

    Democratic Primary: Sean Shaw — I like Shaw’s background as a state representative and former state insurance consumer advocate, as well as his issue priorities. His endorsements, including those of former Gov. Bob Graham and former Attorney General Bob Butterworth, show he is well-respected statewide.

    The winners will face off in November.

    Florida Commissioner of Agriculture

    Republican Primary: Denise Grimsley — The Commissioner of Agriculture oversees a department with a budget of $1.8 billion, five times that of the other Cabinet offices. As such, I want it led by someone with not only an understanding of Florida’s agriculture industry, but also substantive business experience. In my view, Grimsley’s background as a registered nurse, citrus grower, hospital administrator, and chief operating officer of her family’s business likely provide her the best insight and relevant experience for the job.

    Democratic Primary: Jeffrey Duane Porter — In my opinion, none of the three Democratic candidates have backgrounds sufficient for the job. Of them, Porter is the only one with executive experience, having served as mayor of the city of Homestead, FL (population about 70,000).

    The winners will face off in November.

      State Attorney, 20th Circuit (background here)

      Republican Primary: Amira Fox — Having spent a successful career in the State Attorney’s office and with the endorsement of retiring State Attorney Steve Russell, Fox is the better qualified candidate for the job. Her endorsements by Russell’s predecessor Joe d’Alessandro, the President of the Florida Prosecuting Attorney’s Association, the sheriffs of the five counties of the 20th Circuit and Collier County Commissioner Burt Saunders are also persuasive.

      Even though a write-in candidate closed this race so that only registered Republicans can participate in it, the winner will effectively be decided in August.

        The local races
        Let me begin by saying how impressed I am by each of the individuals running for the following offices. While I may not agree with some of their priorities, or think they have the necessary background or experience for the job, without exception they appear be sincerely motivated to make a difference in our community. I thank each of them for their willingness to serve.
        With that, here’s how I would likely vote:

        Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller
        Universal Primary: Crystal Kinzel — I’ve known Kinzel since before 2007, but that year we worked together as members of a League of Women Voters of Collier County study of charter government. She is smart, hard-working, ethical and dedicated to public service. Her years as Finance Director for the Collier Sheriff (1989 – 2005) and for the Clerk of Courts (2005 -2016), and the fact that she was selected by her long-time boss Dwight Brock to be his Deputy Clerk, more than qualify her for the job. In fact, I’d say she’s earned it.

        With just two candidates running, this race will be decided in August.

        Collier County Commissioner
        District 2 (background here)

        Universal Primary: Andy Solis — I’ve known Solis since 2014, when we supported the same candidate for School Board; later, I supported him over two opponents in his first run for County Commission in 2016. I feel today, as I did then, that his broad-based and diverse community engagement makes him my preferred candidate for this position. In addition, I am impressed with Solis’s leadership of and advocacy for development of a county-wide strategic plan to address mental health and addiction. (More here and here.)

        With just two candidates running, this race will be decided in August.

        Collier County Commissioner
        District 4 (background here)
        Republican Primary: Penny Taylor — I commend and support Taylor’s efforts to persuade fellow Commissioners to deal with the County’s workforce-housing shortages and the prospect of sea level rise. I especially like that she initiated annual Mock Commission Meetings for middle school civics class students, introducing them to county government. She deserves another term to continue her work.

        The winner will face Democrat Gary Petit-Dor in November.

          Circuit Judge, 20th Circuit (background here)

          Open Primary: John Owen McGowan — Not only does McGowan have the appropriate legal experience for the job, his additional service for the past ten years representing indigent clients will likely broaden the perspective with which he approaches his role as a judge. In addition, I admire the fact that in addition to his legal duties, McGowan served for twelve years as an elected North Naples Fire Commissioner and was part of the team that worked toward fire district consolidation, a concept I have supported since 2010.

          With just two candidates running, this race will be decided in August.

            County Judge, Group 2 (background here)

            Open Primary: Dominick Russo — A Naples High graduate, Russo has spent his legal career in Collier County representing the types of clients and handling the types of cases likely to come before him as a judge. Before law school, he taught public school in South Los Angeles, and he speaks Spanish. The more I learned about Russo’s background, the more convinced I became that he is the best candidate for this particular job.

            Unless one of the five candidates gets 50 percent of the votes plus one, the top two vote-getters will face off in November.

              School Board District 3 (background here)

              Open Primary: Jen Mitchell — I’ve been actively working with Mitchell as a member of her campaign team since 2017, and I contributed to her campaign. She is smart, committed to public education, a strong supporter of CCPS, has great insight having been an active parent-volunteer in her children’s classrooms for more than 15 years, and her energy knows no bounds. She’s also a realtor, which gives her another perspective on the importance of good public schools. Knowing her as I do, I am confident that she’s the best candidate for the job.

              With just two candidates running, this race will be decided in August.

                School Board District 5 (background here)

                Open Primary: Roy TerryI’ve been a supporter of Roy Terry since well before his election to the School Board in 2014, and I contributed to his campaign. I endorsed him in 2014 for the same reasons I endorse him today: he has devoted his career to public education, and continues to do so in retirement , having served on the School Board since first being appointed by the Governor in 2010. He has been an excellent Board member, always listening and participating respectfully in Board discussions, and soliciting input from community members before making important decisions. His community involvement has been consistent and shows a commitment to helping others. I especially appreciate Terry’s willingness to endure another campaign in order to provide what he sees as much-needed continuity and stability for the Board for another four years.

                Unless one of the three candidates gets 50 percent of the votes plus one, the top two vote-getters will face off in November.

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