Three candidates have qualified to run in the Jan. 15 special election for the Lakeland City Commission seat vacated by Michael Dunn: Patrick Shawn Jones, Sara Roberts McCarley and Bill Watts. More
The Democratic candidate for the local seat in Congress contends her Republican opponent’s six-month delay in filing a financial disclosure form was aimed at obscuring the source of funds behind a sizable loan he made to his campaign. She’s asking the FBI to investigate.
Despite Kristen Carlson’s 6-point loss to Republican Ross Spano in this month’s face for U.S. House District 15, Democrats remain hopeful about their chances to win the district in 2020, the Tampa Bay Times reports. Potential candidates include Carlson, Andrew Learned of Valrico and Bob Doyel of Winter Haven.
Weeks before leaving Washington, where he’s represented Lakeland in Congress for the last eight years, Dennis Ross discusses his role at Southeastern University and whether he will run for office again. At SEU, he is heading a “conservative think-tank and leadership program” that he says will emphasize compromise. As for politics, he’s not closing options.
While no Democrats won partisan elections in Polk County this year, party activists say they are building a stronger base seen in the solid showing of candidates such as Kristen Carlson and Bob Doyel.
A financial disclosure form filed by Congressman-elect Ross Spano just before last week’s election raises questions about whether personal loans made to Spano were supporters’ attempts to exceed campaign contribution caps, the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Republican Josie Tomkow, elected this week (the second time this year) to a Florida House seat representing a largely rural district north and east of Lakeland, says when she finally serves in Tallahassee, she will advocate for agriculture, promote foster care and adoption and support school choice.
Five candidates have already expressed an interest in running for city commissioner in the Jan. 15 special election to select a replacement for Michael Dunn, who resigned last month. Candidates can qualify to run the last week of November, but one has already prequalfied: Sara Roberts McCarley, former director of Polk Vision. Four others have picked up campaign packets from the city clerk: Jorge Fonseca, Shawn Patrick Jones and Pablo Sologaistoa, all of whom ran for city office last year, and David Hardy, a political newcomer.
The delegations representing Lakeland in the U.S. House and Tallahassee remain solidly Republican as a huge fund-raising advantage failed to propel Kristen Carlson to Congress and voters returned Sen. Kelly Stargel and Reps. Colleen Burton and Josie Tomkow to Tallahassee.
Likewise, the election of Martha Santiago keeps the entire Polk County Commission in the GOP camp.
In non-partisan School Board races, reformer Jennifer Sabin was unable to unseat 16-year incumbent Kay Fields, while reform-minded teacher Sarah Fortney decisively defeated Scott Jones, a Publix store manager.
Former prosecutor Melissa Gravitt becomes a judge, and Polk voters overwhelmingly extended the half-cent sales tax that funds school construction. Read on for election results: