Eleven of the 19 state attorney offices in Florida will have contested races this fall, even though in eight of those cases the incumbent is seeking reelection. By contrast, only four public defender races will have contests this fall, all of which involve Republicans, and only two of which have challenges to incumbents.
Filing for state attorney and public defender offices closed at noon on April 20. (Unlike other circuits in the state, the state attorney and public defender posts for the 20th Circuit are on the ballot in nonpresidential general election years.)
Three of the public defender and two of the state attorney elections will feature an interesting twist. Under the Florida Constitution, if only one party has candidates running for a particular office so that the winner of the primary wins that office, then all voters, regardless of party are allowed to vote in that primary.
That provision is typically bypassed by having someone register as a write-in or “no-party-affiliated” candidate, which guarantees the race will be on the general election and limits the primary to registered voters of the candidates’ party. But those five races have no write-in or NPA candidates, which means that all voters will be able to cast ballots in the August 14 primary. In all five instances, the candidates registered as Republicans.
Those five races are:
• Seventh Circuit State Attorney, where incumbent R.J. Larizza faces Stasia Warren.
• 14th Circuit State Attorney, where incumbent Glenn Hess faces Jim Appleman.
• First Circuit Public Defender, where incumbent James Owens faces Bruce A. Miller.
• Fourth Circuit Public Defender, where incumbent Matt Shirk faces William Charles “Chuck” Fletcher.
• Fifth Circuit Public Defender, where Mike Graves and Bo Samargya filed.
In other state attorney races:
• In the Second Circuit, incumbent Democrat William N. (Willie) Meggs faces Republican Pete Williams in November.
• In the Third Circuit, incumbent Democrat Robert L. (Skip) Jarvis is being challenged by Republican Jeff Siegmeister in November.
• In the Ninth Circuit, incumbent Democrat Lawson Ledran Lamar faces primary opposition from Jeff Ashton and Ryan Williams. The winner faces Republican Joerg “JJ” Jaeger in November.
• In the 11th Circuit, incumbent Democrat Katherine Fernandez Rundle faces a primary challenge from Rod Vereen. The winner faces write-in candidates Omar Malone and Michele Samaroo in November.
• In the 12th Circuit, Republicans Ed Brodsky and Peter Lombardo will meet in the primary, with the winner facing Democrat John Torraco in December.
• In the 15th Circuit, Democrat Dave Aronberg, Republican Dina A. Keever, and NPA Robert Gershman have filed.
• In the 16th Circuit, incumbent Democrat Dennis W. Ward has a primary challenge from Catherine Vogel, with the winner facing Republican Mark E. Kohl in November.
• In the 17th Circuit, incumbent Democrat Mike Satz has a primary challenge from Chris Mancini, with the winner facing Republican Jim Lewis in November.
• In the 18th Circuit, Republican Phil Archer and Democrat Ryan James Vescio have filed.
Reelected without opposition were incumbent State Attorneys William Eddins in the First Circuit, Angela B. Corey in the Fourth Circuit, Brad King in the Fifth Circuit, Bernie McCabe in the Sixth Circuit, Bill Cervone in the Eighth Circuit, Jerry Hill in the 10th Circuit, Mark A. Ober in the 13th Circuit, and Bruce Colton in the 19th Circuit. All are Republicans.
Besides the First, Fourth, and Fifth circuits, the only other contested public defender race is in the 18th Circuit, where Ken Rhoden and Blaise Trettis filed in the Republican primary. The winner faces write-in Christopher Terry Beres in November.
Elected without challenge were incumbent Democrat Nancy Daniels in the Second Circuit, Democrat Blair Payne in the Third Circuit, incumbent Republican Bob Dillinger in the Sixth Circuit, incumbent Republican James S. Purdy in the Seventh Circuit, incumbent Democrat Stacy Ann Scott in the Eighth Circuit, incumbent Democrat Bob Wesley in the Ninth Circuit, Republican Rex Dimmig in the 10th Circuit, incumbent Democrat Carlos J. Martinez in the 11th Circuit, incumbent Republican Larry Louis Eger in the 12th Circuit, incumbent Democrat Julianne M. Holt in the 13th Circuit, incumbent Democrat Herman D. Laramore in the 14th Circuit, incumbent Democrat Carey Haughwout in the 15th Circuit, incumbent Democrat Rosemary E. Enright in the 16th Circuit, incumbent Democrat Howard Finkelstein in the 17th Circuit, and incumbent Republican Diamond R. Litty in the 19th Circuit.
Winners of the elections will serve four-year terms beginning in January.