by Joe Courter
Yay Gainesville! Gigi Simmons was able to prevail in the run-off against Charles Goston on May 1. Her and Gail Johnson’s swearing in on May 17, at the Thelma Bolton Center, will be a powerful and happy event. More on that in the July/August Iguana.
Beyond that, here is a thumbnail view of what’s coming up in the primaries on August 28 for our region:
U.S. Senate: Incumbent Bill Nelson will have some challengers in the primary, but the main event is November.
Florida Governor: We like Andrew Gillum in the primary. Gwen Graham and Philip Levine are also in the running.
U.S. Rep. District 3: Defeating Yoho is much desired. Dushyant Gosai, Yvonne Hinson Hayes, and Tom Wells are in the primary as challengers. All three would be vast improvements in what will be a tough race thanks to gerrymandering; hopefully, unity will reign after the primary. Wells has been a candidate against Yoho previously and has been showing great improvement on the stump.
State Senate District 8: Kayser Enncking and Olysha Magruder are Democrats running to unseat Keith Perry. Both women are strong candidates, with the former a doctor and the latter a teacher. We like Olysha a lot, definitely the more progressive; Kayser meanwhile has a ton more money, but again, high hopes for unity in November to defeat Perry.
State Rep. District 21: Unseating Chuck Clemons is the goal here. As of now, there are two democrats in the primary, Jason Haeseler and Amol Jethwani. Amol is very active with College Democrats and has a fired up youthful core of workers and progressive vision. Once again, a hope for unity after the primary.
Alachua Co. District 2: Democratic Primary is a race between two really nice people on the Democratic side–Randy Wells and Marihelen Wheeler–in a race to succeed Lee Pinkoson; either will be a vast improvement, though Marihelen is more the activist and strong advocate. Interesting, the Republican brand is so toxic, a very well-funded conservative opponent named Scott Costello awaits the winner in November, running as a NPA (no party affiliation). No reason to believe the Wheeler and Wells teams won’t unify, but Republican and Chamber of Commerce big money may muddy this up for November.
Alachua County District 4: Re-elect Ken Cornell. No opponent at this time.
School Board District 1: We’d like Tina Certain to defeat incumbent April Griffin.
School Board District 3 and 5: Keep Gunnar Paulson and Rob Hyatt. They may have challengers arise, but there is no reason to unseat them.
Other candidates can still jump in or opt out through mid June, but this looks like what the Aug. 28 ballot will look like.