While Florida's primary election is just over two months away, there was a flurry of campaign activity at the Florida Secretary of State Office on Friday as candidates seeking state and local offices faced a noon Friday deadline to qualify.
One of the last candidates to file was Monroe Lee, who joins five other write-in candidates for governor. While Republican Gov. Rick Scott appears to already be campaigning against presumptive Democratic nominee, former Gov. Charlie Crist, a total of 16 candidates qualified in the governor's race: three Republicans, three Democrats, three independents and a Libertarian candidate in addition to the six write-ins.
Former State Sen. Nan Rich -- the second Democrat who will be competing for the top job on the August primary ballot -- has been campaigning for two years.
"I believe this state is ready to elect a progressive Democrat and to have the first woman governor of the State of Florida," Rich said.
On the Republican side, two unknown candidates ponied up the $7,800 qualifying fee. One, Yinka Adeshina, claims to have almost $182,000 in a campaign account. The second, Elizabeth Cuevas-Neunder, shows $1,365 on hand, but loans of just over $10,000.
Qualifying candidates in other statewide races
- Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi drew three challengers: Democrats George Sheldon and Perry Thurston and Libertarian Bill Wohlsifer.
- Democrat William Rankin will challenge incumbent Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater.
- Democrat Thaddeus Hamilton will be on the November ballot with incumbent Republican Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam. Write-in candidate Jeffrey Obos also qualified in the race.
Candidates for Northeast Florida legislative seats
- State Sen. Aaron Bean drew no opposition in his Senate District 4 seat
- Republican Sen. John Thrasher drew three opponents: Republican Derek Hankerson, Democrat Kathleen Trued and independent Greg Feldman.
- Republican Rep. Janet Atkins will be challenged by Democrat Dave Smith and write-in candidate Wendy Martin in House District 11.
- Republican Rep. Lake Ray competes for reelection with Democratic challenger Yevgeny Morozov in House District 12.
- Democrat Rep. Reggie Fullwood drew no opposition in House District 13, but he missed the qualifying deadline and a special qualifying period will be set by the state Division of Elections.
- Democrat Rep. Mia Jones drew no opposition in House District 14.
- In House District 15 -- an open seat since Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce President Daniel Davis is not seeking reelection -- drew four candidates: Republicans Jay Fant and Paul Renner and write-in candidates Kerry Kelley and Calvin White.
- Republican Rep. Charles McBurney drew a primary opponent: Chris Oliver in House District 16. Brunell Martineau also qualified as a write-in candidate.
- In House District 17, Republican Rep. Ronald Renuart will have an independent challenger in the November election: Rebecca Sharp.
- Republican Rep. Travis Cummings drew a Libertarian opponent, Ken Willey, in House District 18.
- Republican Rep. Charles Van Zant drew no opposition in House District 19.
The Florida Primary will be held August 26 and General Election on November 4.