Write-ins Qualify to Run in Four Martin County Races
By JIM REEDER
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 16, 2008
STUART - Four write-in candidates who filed papers Monday to have their votes counted in November said they wanted to encourage Democrats to run and keep them from voting in the Republican primary.
It apparently worked, sparking donations and encouraging another Democrat to become a candidate, Martin County Democratic Chairman David Dew said Monday.
"We expect to have two Democrats enter the District 1 County Commission race this week," Dew said. "We'll have all the races covered except school board, sheriff and tax collector."
Eric Miller, spokesman for the write-ins' so-called Iron Claw Committee, , said the promised surge in Democratic activity won't cause them to withdraw.
He said a Democratic candidate could withdraw at the last minute and leave that Republican race open to all voters.
The political maneuvering has to do with Florida's "universal primary" system, which allows all voters to cast ballots in a primary if there is no candidate from an opposition party.
Several Martin County races appeared likely to have nothing but Republican candidates, meaning Democrats and Independents would have been able to vote in the primary.
The appearance of a write-in candidate, who would be on the ballot in the November general election, would close those primary races to any voter who isn't a Republican.
With four write-in candidates qualifying to run in different races Monday, the primary winners will not have those races in the bag until the November general election.
Miller, the schools superintendent candidate, will be joined by three other write-in candidates: David Gleichman for County Commission District 1, David Olio for tax collector and Charles "Chuck" Winn for sheriff.
"Historically write-in candidates haven't done well," Miller said. "But if the primary winner is unacceptable to a lot of people they might write in a candidate's name."
Dew, the Democratic chairman, called the four Iron Claw candidates "right-wing nuts."
"They can wrap it in all the high-minded talk they want to, but they just wanted to close the GOP primary," he said. "They helped us by making Democrats mad and we've raised money and gotten another candidate as a result."
Otherwise Monday, the first day of candidate qualifying brought no surprises with several previously-announced candidates filing the papers to get on the ballot. The qualifying period ends at noon Friday.
Martin and St. Lucie counties will have races for county commission, property appraiser, tax collector, sheriff, school board and clerk of circuit court this year.
(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. Martin County Democratic Executive Committee has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is Martin County Democratic Executive Committee endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)
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