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Thursday, April 25, 2024

We’re chugging right along with our four-part series on the upcoming primary election Aug. 28. Alachua County residents have until July 30 to register or change party affiliations in order to vote for candidates in their party.

Today, we’ll be looking at the candidates for U.S. Senator, the Eighth Judicial Circuit Court Judge in Group 8 and the Alachua County commission. Please note these editorials are not an endorsement of any candidate.

U.S. Senator

Sen. Marco Rubio’s seat is safe for now. He isn’t up for reelection until 2022. That leaves one spot left for a hotly contested campaign ahead.
Sen. Bill Nelson is the incumbent everyone else will try to knock off. He’s the only Democrat in the race. He voted against a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in 2006 and filed a bill last year to reduce student loan interest rates.
Nelson’s likely opponent in the general election is current Republican Gov. Rick Scott. Scott wants to propose giving line-item veto powers to the executive branch and an implementation of senatorial term limits, according to his campaign website.
The other Republican on the senate ticket for the primary is Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente, a former Democratic presidential candidate. De La Fuente is also running for senate in multiple other states this year. He supports the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, and opposes jailing non-violent criminals, according to his campaign website.
There are five write-in candidates who have qualified to be put on the ballot: Lateresa Jones, Howard Knepper, Michael Levinson, Charles Tolbert and David Weeks.
Circuit 8, Group 8 Judge
Three candidates — all without party affiliation — are up for judgeship in Alachua County’s circuit court: David Robertson, Julie Waldman and Gloria Walker. The position is being vacated by a retiring judge. If a candidate does not garner 51 percent of the vote, the top two candidates will advance to the general election.

Robertson is the chief counsel for the Florida Department of Transportation. He sports endorsements from five county sheriffs, according to his campaign website.
Waldman serves as an administrator for the Agency for Persons with Disabilities and has more than 25 years of legal experience, according to her campaign website.
Walker is a 2002 graduate of the UF Levin College of Law and has been the managing attorney at Three Rivers Legal Service since 2013. She helped represent 90 of the 142 low-income families in the Kennedy Homes lawsuit after the apartment complex caught fire in 2003.
Alachua County Commissioners (District 2)
Five candidates — two Democrats, a Libertarian, an Independent and a write-in — are running to fill the impending vacancy of current commissioner Lee Pinkoson.
Marihelen Wheeler and Randy Wells are running as Democrats. Wheeler is a retired middle school teacher and a member of the Alachua County Labor Coalition. Wells is a director at the nonprofit Florida Community Design Center.
Greg Caudill is running as a Libertarian. Caudill is an Army veteran and supports funding charter schools, according to his campaign website.
Scott Costello, the Independent candidate, is the founder of Advantage Publishing Inc. He supports expanding Alachua’s public transportation infrastructure, according to his campaign website.
Ward Scott, the write-in candidate, is a retired teacher and hosts a local conservative radio show. He was the interim city manager of Archer in 2009.
We at The Alligator urge you to learn more about these and all other candidates for local, state and national office before heading to the polls in August and November. Florida residents can register to vote at

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