By Tim Pallesen
Every registered voter in Palm Beach is eligible to vote in nine races on the Aug. 14 primary ballot. That’s a change from the days when primary elections were strictly closed elections for Republicans and Democrats to select their candidates for a November general election.
Democrats and Republicans still have closed primary elections on the Aug. 14 ballot. But August elections in Palm Beach County have evolved to also include important elections for all registered voters.
The countywide races for four constitutional officers will be decided Aug. 14 without the need for a November election.
Four incumbents — Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher, Property Appraiser Gary Nikolits and Clerk of the Circuit Court Sharon Bock — are seeking re-election.
Voters changed the county charter in 2004 so future candidates for sheriff, elections supervisor and property appraiser would be nonpartisan.
Those candidates no longer campaign as Republicans or Democrats.
A Democratic primary in the clerk’s race was opened to all voters when no Republican or write-in candidate filed for that race.
Tax Collector Anne Gannon will be reelected if she wins a Democratic primary because no Republican filed in that
Five judgeships also will be on the ballot for all Palm Beach voters to study and vote upon. Those races also are nonpartisan with no need for a Nov. 6 General Election.
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is the highest-ranking incumbent in a closed party primary. Nelson has a Democratic opponent and four Republicans want his seat, so both political parties have Senate primaries.
Former West Palm Beach mayor Lois Frankel faces Broward County Commissioner Kristin Jacobs in a Democratic primary for U.S. House.
State Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff has a Republican primary before she can face Sen. Maria Sachs, a Democrat, in the general election.
A Senate district that includes Manalapan and South Palm Beach has a Democratic primary between Mack Bernard and Jeff Clemens.