Sorry, boys and girls, but Qualifying Week, just like Christmastime, must come to an end. Today is the final day for candidates to qualify, with paperwork due by noon with the state Division of Elections.
For most candidates, Qualifying Week was all but a formality. Yet, dozens of candidates will have earned a ‘free ride’ and won office without drawing any opposition. A few special candidates will find themselves facing an opponent who qualified moments before the carriage turns back into a pumpkin today at 12:00 p.m.
Here are running updates from the last day of Qualifying Week:
7:26 a.m. - Without judging the level of opposition, among Florida’s congressional district only U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland, may be re-elected without a primary or general election challenge, reports Jim Turner of Sunshine State News.
7:05 a.m. - Sen. Jack Latvala has drawn a last-minute Democratic challenge from Ashley Marie Rhodes-Courtier.
7:02 a.m. - State Sen. Steve Oelrich notified the Division of Elections that he intended to qualify for a run in the new 3rd Congressional District by turning in the required 2,300 or so signatures, but went ahead and paid the fee to qualify.
6:58 a.m. - Former Rep. Frank Farkas, R-St. Petersburg, has qualified to run for an open House seat in Pinellas County. Farkas served in the House from 1998 to 2006 before losing a bid for the Senate. He will run in newly drawn District 68, which became open when Rep. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, qualified to run for the Senate. Farkas will face St. Petersburg Republican Daryle Hamel in the Aug. 14 primary election.
6:56 a.m. - Rep. Lake Ray, R-Jacksonville has drawn a Green Party candidate for an opponent. Karen Morian, G-Jacksonville, qualified by petition this week to run in House District 12, against Ray.