While the dance card isn’t final yet, it’s certain that there will at least one hotly contested city commission race this fall.
Candidates for the two Apalachicola city commission seats on the ballot Sept. 5, and the two seats in Carrabelle, began qualifying Monday, with the process set to close this Friday at noon.
In Apalachicola, Frank Cook, the incumbent city commissioner, announced earlier this year he planned to retire.
On Monday, both Anita Grove and Charles Kienzle filed the required paperwork for his District 3 seat, and paid the mandatory $226.80 fee, which is based on a commissioner’s $5,191 annual compensation.
Grove, 57, 174 Avenue C, is former director of the Apalachicola Area Chamber of Commerce who has worked since August 2014 as coastal training program coordinator for the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve.
Kienzle, 64, 15 Eighth Street, is retired from a career as an executive in the hospitality, oil and transportation industries.
Incumbent Commissioner Brenda Ash, who said she plans to run for reelection, had not yet qualified, as of press time.
In Carrabelle, Cal Allen, 79, 1204 Gulf Avenue, paid the required $85.55 filing fee in a bid for another term. Incumbent Commissioner Audrey O. Messer had not declared her candidacy for reelection as of press time.
While all for city commission seats are non-partisan and voted at-large by all registered voters within the city, there is a big difference in how the two elections will play out.
In Apalachicola, if more than three candidates seek a particular commission seat, then the top two vote getters in the Sept. 5 election will hold a runoff two weeks later, on Sept. 19. In Carrabelle, no matter how many people run in the Sept. 5 election, the top two vote getters are considered the winners.
According to the county’s supervisor of elections office, Apalachicola has 1663 registered voters eligible for the Sept. 5 elections. In Carrabelle, there are 879 registered voters.
Registration for the Sept. 5 election closes August 7. The last day to request to receive a mail-in ballot is August 30.
Early voting will be held from Aug 28 through Sept. 2 at the supervisor of elections offices, in Apalachicola at 47 Avenue F, and at the annex in Carrabelle at 912 NW Avenue A.
On Election Day, voters in Apalachicola cast ballots at the Fort Coombs Armory and in Carrabelle at the Franklin County Senior Citizens Center.