Leon County Guide to County and Special District Elections (November, 2014)

Campaigning in Leon County during 2012 early voting

Campaigning in Leon County during 2012 early voting

Remember to vote early.  Here is a list of all Early Voting Sites in Leon County.

Thank you for visiting the Adventure Lawyer’s “Leon County Guide to County and Special District Elections.”

This guide is intended to help undecided voters throughout Leon County identify relevant information relating to potentially otherwise unknown candidates when deciding which individual most deserves your vote. It lists all candidates for each contested county, judicial, and special district board election appearing on the November 4, 2014 ballot.

Using the Guide

Campaign Websites

Directly under each candidate’s name is a link to their campaign website or their campaign Facebook page.  If a candidate has both, the link generally attaches to their website which will then contains its own link to their campaign Facebook page, if they have one. If I was unable to find a candidate campaign website or a campaign Facebook page, there will be the statement “No Website Found.”

Campaign Finance Records

Directly under each candidate’s link to their campaign website or Facebook page, or the words “No Website Found,” is, when available, a link to each candidate’s most recent campaign finance report as of October 30, 2014. This link is titled “Latest Campaign Finance Report.”  If I was unable to find a posting of their most recent (or any) posting of the candidate’s campaign finance report, instead of a link, you will find the statement “No Campaign Finance Information Found.”

Because whether or not their campaign finance reports are published timely by third parties is beyond the reasonable scope of responsibility of the candidate, it may be appropriate not to hold their status of “No Campaign Finance Information Found” against them.

Political Affiliation

Except for judicial races, the political affiliation of each candidate, as recorded by the Leon County Supervisor of Elections, is stated next to the name of each non-judicial candidate. Though these are non-partisan races this information is provided for voters who are strongly affiliated with a particular political party and wish to vote for members of that party in local non-judicial offices.

In a very few instances I was unable to confirm a candidate’s voter registration status, and therefore, their party affiliation (if any). For those few candidates the words “Could Not Confirm Voter Registration” appear in place of their party affiliation. In almost every case they are probably registered, they just may not have updated a name change or they may have a name submitted for the ballot that is different from their legal name–such as when someone gets married, takes her spouse’s last name, but keeps her maiden name for election purposes due to its familiarity with voters. Also, sometimes, their name has simply been misspelled in the database.

In other words, consider not penalizing the candidate just because we couldn’t divine the universe of possibilities when looking up candidate names through the database.

For those candidates stated as “NPA,” that simply means that their voter registration states that they have “No Party Affiliation.”

Incumbency

Some voters believe that incumbents should be retained if they perceive that the current Commission or Board is doing a good job as a whole. Conversely, dissatisfied voters  may wish to “vote the bums out” (though please consider first making sure that the incumbent on the ballot hasn’t been the one trying to solve the problem.) Therefore, if a candidate is an incumbent, it is so stated next to their names.

Outlier Candidates

For the vast majority of candidates, the only information the Guide provides are their names, party affiliation, and, when available, links to their campaign websites or, as of October 30, 2014, their latest campaign finance reports.  Occasionally, however, there is an outlier candidate worthy of special attention.

Sometimes, it’s a positive highlight members of the general public may not commonly know: Leon Soil and Water Conservation District Two Candidate Stan Peacock is considered by those who work with the board to be one of the most competent, thorough, and committed member that the Board has ever had.

Unfortunately, other times, a candidate may have a noteworthy unorthodox past or demeanor, that those who do not often pay close attention to local politics may not be aware: Leon Soil and Water Conservation District Two Candidate William Helmich‘s sole occupation is as an ultra-right wing conservative consultant, and he can’t even be bothered to file campaign Finance reports. (He has simply not filed his previous four reports even though large amounts of money are being spent.)  Three people, including myself, called the Supervisor’s office to verify this wasn’t just a paperwork snafu.

In the event that a candidate may be an outlier, a small note is made beneath their name, campaign website link, or phrase “No Website Found,” and their Latest Campaign Finance Report or phrase “No Campaign Financial Information Found.” The representations and accusations are not my own, so I include a link to news reports (and one Youtube video) in citation of the statements made. In these cases, I hope you will do further research on your own.

All statements are intended as statements of opinion and are not statements of fact. I have done my best to exclude negative nonsense.

Personal Notes

Because Leon County is where I live and where I base my law practice, I occasionally have worked with, or have a personal relationship with, a candidate for public office. Usually my opinion is a positive one–most people who are active in Leon County politics, whatever their personal beliefs and opinions, are outstanding human beings and truly dedicated to public service. In a very few cases it’s a negative opinion.

In any event, if I have worked with or know the candidate personally, I offer a brief personal note of what I know about them.

Personal notes may not include links, because they are my personal opinions formed through experience and not something I learned through secondhand sources.

Also note that as I am a past chair of the Leon County Democratic Executive Committee–I might be biased!

Media Coverage

When available, I offer a link to the Tallahassee Democrat or WFSU’s analysis of each race.

Senator Bill Nelson at the  National High Magnetic Field Laboratory--Leon County is a place that believes in science.

Senator Bill Nelson at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory–Leon County is a place that believes in science.

First District Court of Appeal Judicial Retention Races

You can find information on the judges who are up for judicial retention at the Florida Bar’s website here.

The Leon County Commission

At-Large, Group Two:

The Tallahassee Democrat endorses Nick Maddox.

Curtis Baynes DEMOCRAT
Campaign Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Nick Maddox (Incumbent) DEMOCRAT
Campaign Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report
Personal Note: Nick has always been one of my favorite Commissioners to work with and he cares deeply about Leon County. He was instrumental in funding the Leon County Mental Health Court and countless other initiatives.

District One:

Bill Proctor talks with the Tallahassee Democrat.

Weser Khufu’s Rebuttal to the Tallahassee Democrat’s Endorsement.

Weser Khufu DEMOCRAT
Campaign Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Bill Proctor (Incumbent) DEMOCRAT
No Website Found
Latest Campaign Finance Report
Personal Note: I have worked with Commissioner Proctor on several issues, particularly those related to social mobility, mental health, and veteran affairs.  At public meetings he expresses his District’s frustration through bellicose language and tone–he wants to make it clear to his constituents that he is fighting for them–but when the cameras shut off and the crowds disperse, in my experience, Commissioner Proctor works respectfully, pragmatically and diligently with his colleagues and community activists.  He is also one of the most enigmatic folks I have ever (and it was always a pleasure) worked with.

Leon Soil and Water Conservation District

Learn more about the Leon Soil and Water Conservation District here.

Here is WFSU’s coverage of these races.

District Two:

Stan Peacock (Incumbent) DEMOCRAT
Campaign Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report
Personal Note: It is my experience that Stan is considered by pretty much everybody who works with the Board to be the most competent, thorough, and committed member that the Board has ever had. He has a degree in biology and a doctorate in Optometry. One of the candidates in the District Four race suggests that there are no science experts on the Board–considering Stan’s eminent qualifications, that is not a fair assessment.

William Helmich REPUBLICAN
No Website Found
Latest Campaign Finance Report
Caution: Bill Helmich sends out mailers attempting to betray himself as a Democrat when he is actually Vice Chair of the Republican Executive Committee of Leon County. Although he is spending large amounts of money, we don’t know who it’s from, because he hasn’t filed a campaign finance report with the Supervisor of Elections since September in an apparent naked flouting of Florida Campaign Finance Law. (Three people, including myself, called the Supervisor’s Office to verify this claim.) He once tried to create havoc at one of my Democratic Executive Committee meetings by storming in yelling nonsense about yard signs but–oops–choose to try this at meeting dedicated to a Sheriff and State Attorney candidates’ forum. When he abruptly popped in he was confronted by a largely uniformed audience–the protest deescalated quickly. He once sent a letter to my leadership team claiming I broke an election law by quoting a statute but omitting the text that very plainly mangled his argument into nonsense. His letter is here. My response is here. I followed it up by spending 10K on a second round of “If you like Rick Scott, than you’ll love Steve Stweart ads.” I never heard back from him after that. Bill Helmich should not be trusted to supervise our county’s water supply.

District Four:

Ryan Truchelut NPA
Campaign Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Brian Lee DEMOCRAT
Campaign Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report
Personal Note: Brian helps run an alternate-energy/environmental NGO and has demonstrated an ability to persuade conservative legislators and a “I’m not a scientist” Executive Office of Governor to do basic things to prevent the whole of south Florida from being submerged under the ocean before the next fiscal quarter. He has also proven his ability to raise money through both fundraisers and grant applications. He has been volunteering and actively engaged with the community for many years. Brian was also a key player in President Obama’s 2008 north Florida campaign.

Capital Region Community Development District 

Learn more about the Capital Region Community Development District here.

Seat Three:

Eli Nortelus (Incumbent) DEMOCRAT
Campaign Website
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Luis Rojas REPUBLICAN 
No Website Found
Latest Campaign Finance Report
Note: If you scroll through his campaign contributions list, you might note an issue with where most of his donations are coming from.

Piney Z Community Development District

Learn more about Piney Z Community Development District here.

Seat One:

Delores Ann Pincus REPUBLICAN
No Website Found
No Campaign Finance Information Found

Hugh Hauck REPUBLICAN
No Website Found
Latest Campaign Finance Report
Note: Though it is of little relevance to a community development district race, if you care, Mr. Hauck is endorsed by Personhood Florida, a pro-life political action committee. 

Seat Three:

Johnny Patrick Devine DEMOCRAT
No Website Found
Latest Campaign Finance Report

Cheryl Hudson (Inclumbent) REPUBLICAN
No Website Found
No Campaign Finance Information Found

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s