Tallahassee Mayor and Other Races No Longer Unopposed

By: Lanetra Bennett
June 20, 2014

Tallahassee, FL - The contest for Tallahassee Mayor is no longer a one-man race.

Three new candidates narrowly made the deadline to run against City Commissioner Andrew Gillum.

Earlier this week, there were 13 out of 19 local races unopposed. City Commissioner Andrew Gillum was the only candidate for mayor. But, oh, what a difference a day, or even a few hours make.

Friday, on the very last day of qualifying for the Leon County 2014 Election, three new candidates came into the elections office to qualify to run against City Commissioner Andrew Gillum.

"Somebody has to do it." Said, Larry Hendricks. This is his third time taking a shot at the office. The 65-year-old retiree ran for mayor in 2006 and 2010, and ran for city commission in 2008.

Hendricks says, "The incumbent always has an advantage because they've got name recognition. Sometimes that may weigh against them, which I think in some case it will, in this case. I think they're a lot of citizens in this community that are not happy with the way things have been run."

Forty-three-year-old Zachery Richards was the last to qualify Friday. He's the executive director of the non-profit, "Character Center" in Tallahassee. He says he waited to the last minute to qualify because he wanted to take the time to think about it.

He says, "I wanted to make sure that I am addressing some of the concerns of the people. That's what I've been doing for ten years, going around helping as many people as possible and then reaching back to try to find the proper amount of resources to give them what they need."

Evin Matthews qualified as a write-in candidate on the ballot. He did not speak to the media like everyone else signing in at the elections office Friday.

Tallahassee City Commissioner Andrew Gillum released the following statement today regarding the City of Tallahassee mayoral race:
“We have been running this race for mayor for more than a year and we’re going to run hard to the end. I am running for mayor because I have the passion, energy, and commitment to move us in the right direction.
"These are exciting times for our city. During the next few months I will continue to lay out my bold vision for Tallahassee. If elected mayor, I will improve our quality of life by ensuring a safe community for our families and encouraging a strong business environment where talent and innovation thrives.
"I welcome the other candidates to the race and look forward to a positive campaign focused on moving Tallahassee forward."

There are four candidates qualified to run for Gillum's commission seat two: Darren Mason, Diana Oropallo, Curtis Richardson, and David Riddle.

Weser Khufu, a construction engineer, is running for Leon County Commission district 1, against longtime incumbent Bill Proctor. Khufu says, "I want to set an example for the people. It's more than politics, it's about leadership. People see you out working hard and trying to bring some to the community and good to the district. I want to just get people excited again, try to get them motivated." Khufu says he plans to bring jobs to the southside.

In a written statement, Commissioner Proctor says, Commissioner Proctor states “I am excited to campaign for a job I love doing on behalf of District One citizens. A lot has been achieved and there are more improvements to come. I am thankful for the love and support of the District One family. Indeed, I have remained steadfast and unmovable in my advocacy for the citizens of District One and Leon County.
In the words of Al Green, I say to the District One family—“Let’s Stay Together.” I will remain a “Clear Voice.”

Real estate broker and investor, Curtis Baynes, is running against incumbent Nick Maddox for the county commission at-large, group 2 seat. Baynes says, "We're always dealing with tax questions in a difficult economy; and I think we need to look at some of our environmental efforts in the southern part of the county, particularly Lake Munson, Oak Ridge area."

The primary election is August 26th and the general election November 4th.

For the complete list of candidates and races, go to leonvotes.org.

By: Lanetra Bennett
June 17, 2014

Tallahassee, FL - The qualifying period has begun for Leon County's 2014 election. But, the election may not be much of a race because a majority of the 19 local offices that will appear on the voting ballot, are unopposed at this point.

"Seems to be a little slower this cycle." Says, the elections records manager for Leon County, Karen Williams.

Nineteen local offices are up for election this year. Thirteen of them are unopposed.

Political consultant, Stephen Beasley, says this unusual occurrence could mean that those already in office are doing a good job. He says, "They have served their constituency peronably, hands on, and very effectively; and there's no need for persons out to seek to challenge them. They don't seem to have any skeletons in their closet and any scandals."

On Monday, ten candidates came into the Leon County Supervisor of Elections Office to qualify. As of noon Tuesday, there were three additional names on the qualifying list.

A few candidates came in to qualify Tuesday afternoon.

Among the current 13 unopposed offices are: Tallahassee City Mayor; both open city commission seats (Seat 3 and Seat 5); two of the four Leon County commission seats (District 5 and At-Large, Group 2); and two out of three school board seats District 3 and District 5.)

Williams says, "If they're unopposed at the end of qualifying, they are elected. One of our judges who qualified back in April, didn't have any opposition. So, she is elected unopposed at the end of qualifying. It does seem a bit unusual. But, we still have three days left to qualify. So, we'll see what happens."

Beasley says voters may see having one candidate in several races as a plus because there would be fewer campaign signs cluttering roadsides. However, he says some voters would rather see competition among candidates.

Qualifying began Monday, 6/16/14 and ends Friday, 6/20/14 at noon.

Anyone interested in running should call the Leon County Supervisor of Elections Office at (850) 606-8683, or go to www.leonvotes.org for more information.

The primary election is August 26th and the general election is November 4th.

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