Ballot Set for 2006 Primary Election

By: Kate Eckman
By: Kate Eckman

Possibly the highest profile campaign in the 2006 election is the race to replace state District 6 Rep. Allan Bense.

Eight candidates are now qualified, four Republicans, two Democrats and two write-in candidates. The Republican primary race seems to be generating the most interest with Panama City Beach Mayor Lee Sullivan, and local businessmen Jimmy Patronis, Jr., and Cameron Skinner collecting and spending big money, nearly half a million dollars combined through the end of last month.

District 7 incumbent Marti Coley will return to Tallahassee, winning her first full-term in her own right after no one qualified to run against her.

Last year Coley won a special election to fill out the remainder of her husband David Coley's term after he died of cancer.

Another surprise came in the election for the newly created circuit judge position here in the 14th Judicial Circuit.

Current Bay County Judge Elijah Smiley, along with local attorney Chris Patterson, have qualified to run, but Bonifay attorney Tim Wells, who was expected to run, decided Friday morning to drop out of the race.

Judges run as non-partisan candidates, so this race will be decided in the September 5 primary. Smiley has resigned from his district two county judge seat to run for circuit, so two local attorneys are trying to replace him.

Hoot Crawford has a private law practice. Shane Vann is a prosecutor for the state attorney's office.

The winner in the primary gets the job. On the county level there weren't many surprises. Incumbent George Gainer faces Nelson Ed Miner in the primary for the county commissioner District 2 Republican seat.

The winner will face Democrat Candis Harbison.

In the commission District 4 race, incumbent Jerry Girvin will face challenger Tommy Loftin in the September primary. Whoever wins the September primary wins the election. There is no Democratic candidate.

The Bay County School Board will have at least one new face. Thursday, Thelma Rohan announced she is giving up her District 3 school board seat. Four qualifiers are trying to replace her.

In District 1, incumbent Ron Danzey has two challengers. All candidates run as non-partisan, so those two races will be decided in the primary.

Donna Allen did not draw any opposition and will serve another term in District 5. The only thing left for you to do is learn about the candidates’ main issues and then vote.

Mark Andersen, Bay Co. Elections Supervisor, said, "You now know who your candidates are going to be and you should start to get informed from these individuals, what they are, what they stand for.”


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