By Michelle Colesanti

The 2014 elections are upon us and it can be confusing as to the choices regarding the candidates and what they stand for. We hope this election pullout section will help you to learn a little more about the local candidates who are running in the upcoming primary election and help you to make an educated choice as to who might serve your interests best.

Florida is a closed primary election state. Only voters registered with a political party may vote in that party’s primary election, but all registered voters, regardless of party affiliation, may vote on issues and nonpartisan races. Examples of nonpartisan races include School Board and Judicial races. This year’s primary race includes elections for School Board positions in both local District 2 and District 4 and also District 6 (countywide) so all registered voters should get out and vote.

The County Commissioner’s race for local District 4 is currently closed to all voters who are not registered Republican. There are currently no Democrats running in the District 4 race, but there is a write-in candidate, Christopher Lawrence Weaver. Because of this candidate, the winner of the District 4 primary race will be on the November ballot. Weaver will not officially be listed on the ballot, but you can write him in.

The 2014 Florida primary election will be held on Tuesday, August 26. You must be registered to vote by Monday, July 28 in order to vote in the upcoming primaries. Early voting begins on Thursday, August 14 and runs through Sunday, August 24.

Sample ballots will be made available online prior to the election. Also, additional information on the election process is available at

Locally, voters will have an opportunity to meet the candidates that will be running for various positions at Bell Shoals Baptist Church, located at 2102 Bell Shoals Rd. in Brandon, on Tuesday, August 5 as it hosts the 2014 Candidate Forum.

Sixty candidates have been invited to participate this year, and up to 1,000 people from the community are expected to be in attendance. The Bell Shoals Candidate Forum has taken place since 1984.

The forum is designed to allow the audience to compare candidates vying for office. A meet and greet time will be held from 5:30-6:30 p.m. and the forum will begin at 7 p.m. Each candidate will be allotted two minutes to speak to the audience about issues important to his or her campaign.

For more information on the Forum, contact Jeff Lukens at or786-0835.

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Michelle has been with the Osprey Observer for almost nine years, and her current position is Assignment Editor. She resides in Bloomingdale with her husband Phil, two sons, Philip and Matthew, and Tigger the cat.