Voters in Polk County go to the polls Aug. 18 and again on Nov. 3. In August, local voters will select:
- A county commissioner
- Two School Board members
- Polk’s supervisor of elections.
- Registered Democrats and Republicans in U.S. House District 15, which includes Lakeland, will select their parties’ candidates to run for Congress.
- Polk Republicans will select a state committeewoman.
Below you’ll find links to learn more about the races that Lakeland residents will find on their ballots:
U.S. House | Polk County Commission | Supervisor of Elections | Polk School Board
After the primary, we’ll add information about the races on the Nov. 3 general election ballot, which will include the race for U.S. President, a local seat in the U.S. House, three races for Florida House districts that include Lakeand and a race for County Commission.
This is a living document that we’ll continue updating. Please send any corrections, updates or suggestions to email@example.com.
First, some voter links:
- Get a sample ballot and find out where to vote
- Early voting sites are open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 3 to 15. Lakeland sites are Polk County Government Center, 930 E. Parker St. and Simpson Park Community Center, 1725 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave.
- Register to vote. Registration is closed for the Aug. 18 election, but you have until Oct. 5 to register for the Nov. 3 election.
- Request a mail ballot. The deadline has passed for the Aug. 18 election, but you have until 5 p.m. on Oct. 24 for the November election.
- Learn more about voting dates and procedures here.
First-term incumbent Rep. Ross Spano faces a challenger, Lakeland City Commissioner Scott Franklin, in the Republican primary. Three Democrats — Alan Cohn, Adam Hattersley and Ryan Philippe — are running for their party’s nomination. The winners of each primary will face each other in the Nov. 3 general election.
District 15 encompasses Lakeland and much of northwest Polk as well as a large portion of northeast Hillsborough County and some rural parts of Lake County. (See a map.)
- Tampa Bay Times: Editorial recommendations
- LkldNow: Two Weeks In, Franklin Has Raised $266,786 for Congress Bid
- Florida Politics: Congressional Candidates Spent Big in July
- The Ledger: Franklin Bets Big Again on His Own Campaign
- Candidate Forum: Leadership Lakeland Alumni Association
- Candidate Interview Videos: Plant City Chamber of Commerce
District 15, Republicans
Scott Franklin: Website | Campaign Facebook | Personal Facebook | Twitter | Financial summary | Ballotpedia | Announcement article
Ross Spano: Website | Campaign Facebook | Personal Facebook | Official Facebook | Twitter | Official Twitter | Financial summary | Ballotpedia | Announcement article
- Tampa Bay Times: Fact-Checking the Campaign Ads
- The Ledger: U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz Endorses Franklin
District 15, Democrats
Alan Cohn: Website | Campaign Facebook | Personal Facebook | Twitter | Financial summary | Ballotpedia | Announcement article
Adam Hattersley: Website | Campaign Facebook | Personal Facebook | Twitter | Financial summary | Ballotpedia | Announcement article
Jesse Philippe: Website | Campaign Facebook | Personal Facebook | Financial summary | Ballotpedia
- The Ledger: Three Democrats compete to flip House seat
- Candidate Forum: Tampa Tiger Bay Club
- Tampa Bay Times: Democrats’ dilemma: Picking a congressional challenger in District 15
- Tampa Bay Times: Cohn leads in fundraising and Kathy Castor backs Hattersley in tight CD 15 race
- Florida Politics: Nikki Fried Backs Hattersley
Polk County Commission
Two Polk County Commission seats are on this year’s ballots. Both candidates running for the District 5 seat are Republicans, but the race will show up on all ballots Aug. 28 under a rule that opens the primary to all voters if there is no opposition in November. The District 3 race, which includes a Republican incumbent and Democratic challenger, will appear on the November ballot. County commissioners represent a geographic district, but they are elected in countywide balloting.
District 2, Republican
All registered voters can vote in this race because there is no other candidate for the general election.
Neil Combee: Campaign Facebook | Personal Facebook | Donors + Spending | Ballotpedia | Wikipedia | Announcement Article
John E. Hall: County bio | Campaign Facebook | Donors + Spending | Announcement article
- LkldNow: Two Veteran Commissioners Face Off in County Race
- The Ledger: Incumbent Polk Commissioner John Hall in nasty primary race against Neil Combee
Polk Supervisor of Elections
The supervisor of elections is a non-partisan position that administers county, state, and federal elections, maintains voter rolls, and provides voter registration, campaign finance, and turnout information to the public. Incumbent Lori Edwards, first elected to the office in November 2000, faces opposition from Debbie Hannifan.
Lori Edwards: Official bio | Personal Facebook | Donors + Spending | Announcement article
Debbie Hannifan: Website | Campaign Facebook | Personal Facebook | Donors + Spending | Announcement article
- Four Corners News-Sun: Candidates spar over registration issue
- The Ledger: Lori Edwards, Debbie Hannifan differ on experience, elections management
- Candidate Forum: League of Women Voters
Polk County School Board
Nine candidates are competing for three seats on the nonpartisan School Board. Incumbent Lynn Wilson was automatically re-elected to his District 6 seat because nobody filed to run against him. School Board members represent a geographic district, but are elected in countywide voting.
- School Board Candidate Forum: Rotary on the Ridge
- School Board Candidate Forum: Leadership Lakeland Alumni Association
District 1 (nonpartisan)
William Allen: Website | Campaign Facebook | Personal Facebook | Twitter | Donors + Spending | PAC Donors | Announcement article
Billy Townsend: Website | Campaign Facebook | Personal Facebook | Donors + Spending
- The Ledger: School Board race heats up
District 2 (nonpartisan)
Anita Carson: Website | Campaign Facebook | Personal Facebook | Donors + Spending
Lori Cunningham: Website | Campaign Facebook | Personal Facebook | Donors + Spending
- The Ledger: Carson, Cunningham battle for Polk School Board District 2 seat
- Candidate Forum: Lakeland Kiwanis Club (starts at about 8 minutes in)
ANOTHER GUIDE: LALtoday election roundup