Today is the FINAL DAY to vote in the primary and local elections. All vote by mail has come in, the early voting sites are closed or converted to regular voting sites and the precincts are all open until 7pm tonight.
Find your Indian River County polling place here: https://www.voteindianriver.com/VOTERS/Find-My-Precinct
The Republican and Democratic parties will pick their candidates to square off in the November General Election:
Statewide election predictions:
Governor Rick Scott obviously blows out the opponent and receives maybe a 16% protest vote, campaign rolls on.
Bill Nelson (D)
Democratic nominee will be Gwen Graham
Republican nominee will be Ron Desantis
Neither has selected a Lieutenant Governor (article coming) but they have 9 days following the election to decide.
Commissioner of Agriculture:
Matt Caldwell slightly edges out Denise Grimsley on the Republican side with Baxter Troutman coming in a respectable third. Nickie Fried, cannabis lobbyist and advocate, smokes the competition and locks up the Democrat nomination.
Many pundits call this one a done deal for Ashley Moody, but this race has tightened up down the stretch with Frank White surging. She still carries the day and will face off against Sean Shaw on the Democrat side in 70 days.
Indian River County Local Elections:
Congratulations to Commissioner Joe Flescher and Peter O’Bryan who were re-elected at qualifying when no challenger surfaced to challenge them. So, there will be no change on the County Commission this year, so on to school board where all the action has been.
District 1 School Board:
At least one local election will be decided today in Indian River County, the District 1 School Board seat vacated by Shawn Frost who chose not to seek a second term. Eugene Wolff or Mara Schiff will be the winner today and face no run-off. Eugene Wolff has served on Sebastian City Council so he has political experience, but his campaign efforts have been lackluster (no digital, not much mail, signs in “bootleg” locations). Most who meet him call him “an odd duck”. To his advantage, he is in against a “p-hat” wearing, Broward liberal who relocated to Indian River County and lives on the communal living society at Kashi. Most conservatives are holding their noses and voting for Wolff, more accurately voting AGAINST Schiff. There are some Republicans who have said they are impressed by Dr. Schiff’s credentials as an educator and can’t get past Wolff’s oddness who said they will be filling in the bubble for Mara, so it remains uncertain how well Wolff holds the base. Schiff has had the Democratic team behind her and professional consultants and grassroots organizations. She ran a digital campaign and the Democratic Party did a great job of promoting their candidates to their base. This one could be a toss-up and could actually result in the first registered Democrat to be elected to school board since Claudia Jimenez beat Charlie Wilson. Either Schiff or Wolff will be sworn in with the winners of the run-offs November 20th. Will it be the politician or the progressive, the voters will decide and we will know tonight around 9 pm.
Speaking of run-offs. The only way to avoid a run off in the non-partisan school board race is to get 50% +1 vote in the August primary. In district 1, that will happen because it is a head-to-head race. In districts 2 and 4 there are multiple candidates vying to replace Dale Simchick in district 2 and Charles Searcy in district 4. Neither chose to seek re-election.
District 2 School Board
Distric 2 has four candidates and the top two vote-getters will move along. We predict that Devon Dupuis will be the top vote getter followed by Merchon Green. Rosario and Burmudez will be eliminated. Rosario’s campaign imploded after it was revealed in a Florida Daily Article that she was apparently dishonest about her reasons for not working for the district and her poor performance as an administrator was revealed through a public records request. The nail in her coffin was when it was revealed that this “conservative” lady was a life-long Democrat until July 29, 2016. She lost all credibility with the Republican base and will drag down those who supported her fervently after these revelations such as Laura Zorc and Tim Zorc who threw a (n illegal if they did fundraising) event for her a couple days before the election, long after others had backed away from this obviously failed candidate. Ruben Burmudez is well liked and affable, but some are concerned that he won’t have the time be a full time board member because he missed a couple candidate forums and literally phoned in other performances. It likely won’t be an issue because there’s not much chance he is in the top two vote getters and won’t be passing on to the run-off in November. It will likely be a face off between two strong young women who represent different ideologies and world experiences in Merchon Green and Devon Dupuis.
District 4 School Board
District 4 has three candidates now that Laura Zorc’s recruited candidate Kara Darell has dropped out (due to injury?). Anyway, the field is down to two newcomers Teri Barenborg, Stacy Klim (milk backwards), and previously failed and seemingly perennial candidate Randy Heimler. This one is tough to predict. Barenborg has solid conservative support and Klim has the Democratic Party machine behind her but Randy Heimler has spent a lot of his retirement fund on getting to a state defined benefit pension plan and is willing to say whatever it takes to get there. Normally, I’d say Teri wins in the primary because she has conservatives AND the TCpalm endorsement, but she missed the “Super Bowl” of school board forums. Her reasoning in a statement read at the Taxpayers Association school board candidate forum on August 15th was compelling, in that she wanted to be there for her fellow teachers in the pivotal first weeks of school, but it took away a chance for her to shine as a 35 year educator and blow away the other candidates. Klim has the backing of the Democratic party and consultants and also has crossover appeal to parents of students with unique needs and gifts (ESE) so her showing could be respectable and maybe even pull off second place. Randy Heimler has been running so long that he should be sponsored by Nike by now. His obnoxious vehicle has been badged out seemingly forever and he’s spent over $40k of his own money on this campaign. Beyond that, he has a lot of people fooled because he panders to whatever audience he faces and takes opposite positions of school choice in front of the Teachers Union (IRCEA) where he opposes public charters and at the Taxpayers Association and Republican Clubs where he says he’s for school choice. How many people will see through that or believe that he has evolved on the issue in a few short months? TCPalm has been brutual in exposing his financial and legal problems so that has to knock him back a few points, but enough to let Klim slide by? We will know in a few hours on the election, and 70 days on the issues if he is in the run-off. The question in district 4 is if Teri Barenborg wins in August or November. The rest is just plot development.
Although nominated by the district in which they live, school board candidates run county wide and everyone in the county can vote in each of the three districts. Voters county wide can pick one candidate from each of the three districts, no matter where the voter lives. So a voter can pick one candidate in district 2, another in 1, and a third in district 4.
Get out and vote today, no matter who you are supporting, do your part to shape the community by selecting important decision-makers.
https://www.voteindianriver.com/VOTERS/Find-My-Precinct">Find your polling place here and stay tuned to http://IndianRiverPolitics.com for results and after-analysis. Be sure to like us on facebook