Thread: Walton Commission Race 2012
04-23-2012, 06:00 AM #1
Walton Commission Race 2012
Twelve candidates for 3 seats:
Twelve candidates have entered races to fill three seats on the Walton County Commission.
The already crowded field includes two prominent Walton county officials, two former county commissioners and only one incumbent.
Candidates have until June 8 to qualify to run.
Almost half the candidates filed to run since last Monday, about the time embattled District 1 Commissioner Scott Brannon announced he would not seek a third term.
That race has become the most contested; six people have filed to run for Brannon’s seat.
“It’s common for an open seat to have more candidates,” Supervisor of Elections Bobby Beasley said. “Typically, incumbents have a bit of an edge because of name recognition.”
Candidates for Brannon’s seat include Bill Chapman, who had been with the Walton County Sheriff’s Office since 1981. He retired Thursday as director of support services in order to run for office.
Former Okaloosa County Commissioner Paula Riggs also has joined that race. She served for six years in Okaloosa before resigning for health reasons in 2004.
Former Walton County Commissioner Cindy Meadows will run against District 5 Commissioner Cecilia Jones, the only incumbent who has filed to run thus far.
Meadows gave up her seat to Cecilia Jones in 2008 after serving a four-year term as the county’s first female commissioner.
Bill Imfeld, who recently announced his retirement from his longtime position as the county’s finance director, will run for the District 3 seat now held by Commissioner Larry Jones.
Larry Jones has not yet filed to run. He did not return requests for comment about whether he will seek re-election.
He also has been on the hot seat for alleged conflicts of interest between his commission duties and his work and as a government liaison for Waste Management. The company fired him earlier this month.
Imfeld said he didn’t retire to run for Larry Jones’ seat.
He said after he announced his resignation in March, several people approached him about seeking a commission seat and he began to consider it. He said he decided to run the morning of April 9, when he filed his paperwork.
“It was during that period that I explored both the positives and negatives of running for office,” he said.
The 12 candidates have pre-filed to run, but must still qualify by either gathering 370 signatures by May 7 or paying a hefty filing fee the week of June 4-8.
Beasley said most candidates qualify by gathering the signatures so they can save their money for campaigning.
Frank Day, the only Democratic candidate, is running for Brannon’s seat. If he stays in the race and no more democratic or third party candidates enter, he will face the District 1 nominee from Republican primary in the general election Nov. 6.
As it stands, the two other winners will be decided in Republican primary in August.
Candidate Rick Roberts was the first off the starting line. He filed for Larry Jones’ seat last July.
Asked about his early decision to run, he said he and his family prayed about it and decided he should go ahead and enter the race.
“After the BP oil spill I realized that all of our eggs were in one basket,” he said in an email. “That is a mistake.”
He said he found many residents who shared his view.
With $4,600, he has raised the most money of all the candidates other than Cecilia Jones, who has raised $7,500, according to records from Beasley’s office.
Chapman said he had planned to retire from the Sheriff’s office in December, but decided to leave early to run for commissioner.
“This opportunity gave me another way to serve the county I love so much in a new capacity,” he said in a news release Thursday. “I have lived a lifetime enforcing the law, and I will follow it as your next county commissioner.”
Chapman had been undersheriff, or second-in-command, at the Sheriff‘s Office, but was demoted in 2010 for his involvement in getting his son out of jail early after he was arrested on battery charges.
Chapman also made the news in 2005, when then-DeFuniak Springs Police Chief Ray Burgess retired after he was charged with forging dates on Chapman’s employment application so he would not have to retest for his certification, which had expired. Chapman was not charged in the incident.
Funny how the Daily News gives one former long-time member of the Sheriff's Office free publicity while not even mentioning the other former just-as-long time member of the Sheriff's Office that threw his hat in the ring first.
I promised not to politick this time, but that just seemed real odd.Go Seminoles...fight team fight...SCALP'EM!!
04-23-2012, 09:29 PM #3
One has a whole sidecar full of baggage and one did his time and left with no problems. Who do you expect the media to talk about. Robert Nelson did not get much love either and he has been far more involved in county government than anyone except Cindy. Controversy sells newspapers. Good records don't.
04-29-2012, 05:46 PM #4
05-25-2012, 12:10 PM #5
Thanks for the original post. At least it gives some information about the candidates. But I suspect as usual, qualifications will be put aside in favor of political connections and whoever raises the most money. The Republican insiders always prevail.
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