A look at primary election winners and losers, and for some what comes next


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Posted August 21, 2020 | By Bill Thompson, Deputy Editor

Tuesday’s primary elections brought about 27 percent of Marion County’s registered voters to the polls. Here’s a look at what they decided, beginning locally.

County Commission
District 1

Craig Curry, a former Ocala mayor, captured the County Commission District 1 seat by winning Marion County’s first universal primary in a local election, in which all voters could participate because the winner faced no opposition in November. Curry received 50 percent of the vote in overcoming Mike Behar, 29 percent, and Michael Saxe, 20 percent. Curry will succeed outgoing Commissioner David Moore and will take office in November.

County Commission
District 3

Incumbent Commissioner Jeff Gold essentially won re-election to a second term, defeating challenger Bobby Dobkowski in the Republican primary for County Commission District 3. Gold received 73 percent of the vote. He now faces two write-in candidates, Richard Brown and Brigitte Smith, in the Nov. 3 general election.

County commissioners serve four-year terms and make $84,434 a year under the state’s population-based formula.

Property Appraiser

Jimmy Cowan, a 28-year veteran of the county property appraiser’s office, won the Republican primary for county property appraiser, defeating foes Nick Nikkinen and Commissioner Moore. Cowan, head of the agency’s residential assessments operation, received 46 percent of the vote, compared to 29 percent for Moore, who opted to not seek a third term on the County Commission, and 25 percent for Nikkinen, an assistant property appraiser. Cowan faces write-in Kelly Taub on Nov. 3.

The winner will succeed Property Appraiser Villie Smith, who was first elected in 1996 and is retiring. Marion County’s property appraiser serves a four-year term and makes $146,342 a year under the state’s population-based formula.

School Board District 1

Lori Conrad and Allison Campbell are headed toward a run-off election on Nov. 3 to determine the winner of the Marion County School Board District 1 race. Conrad, a 25-year elementary school teacher, was the top vote-getter with 41 percent, while Campbell, communications director for the Community Foundation of Ocala/Marion County, took 36 percent. A third candidate, business owner Shelia Arnett, received 23 percent.

Board members serve four-year terms and are paid $40,286 a year under the state’s population-based formula.

State House District 20

Yvonne Hayes Hinson easily overcame opponent Rodney Long in a battle of Alachua County Democrats for Florida House of Representatives District 20, which includes much of northwestern Marion County. The election was universal primary in which all voters could participate because the winner faced no opposition in November. Hinson received 60 percent of the vote in the race to succeed Rep. Clovis Watson, a Gainesville Democrat who is leaving office because of term limits.

State representatives serve two-year terms and make $29,697 a year.

State House District 22

Joe Harding blew out Russ Randall to take the Republican primary for Florida House District 22, which spans western Marion County and includes Levy County. Harding, of Williston, took 70 percent of the vote in a bid to succeed Rep. Charlie Stone, an Ocala Republican who is leaving office because of term limits.

Harding will be up against Democrat Barbara Byram, a Levy County resident who qualified without opposition, on Nov. 3.

State House District 23

Cynthia Dela Rosa had no problem getting past opponent Richard Allen Rowe in the Democratic primary for Florida House District 23, which includes Ocala and most of eastern Marion County. Dela Rosa, an Ocala resident, captured 76 percent of the vote. She now goes up against incumbent Republican Rep. Stan McClain of Ocala on Nov. 3.

State Senate District 5

Jennifer Bradley bested Jason Holifield to win the GOP primary for state Senate District 5, which traverses much of North Central Florida and includes the Dunnellon area in Marion County. Bradley, a Fleming Island resident and the wife of the current incumbent, Sen. Rob Bradley, received 59 percent of the vote. She will face Democrat Melina Rayna Barratt of Newberry on Nov. 3.

State senators serve four-year terms and make $29,697 a year.

U.S. House District 3

Kat Cammack, a former top aide to incumbent Republican Rep. Ted Yoho, survived a 10-candidate battle royale to take the GOP primary for Florida’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes Ocala and much of northern Marion County in stretching almost to Jacksonville. Cammack, of Gainesville, received 25 percent of the vote in defeating Ryan Chamberlin, Todd Chase, Bill Engelbrecht, Joe Dallas Millado, Gavin Rollins, Judson Sapp, James St. George, David Theus and Amy Pope Wells for the opportunity to succeed Yoho, who is leaving office to fulfill a pledge to serve just four terms.

Meanwhile, Adam Christensen came out on top in a relative squeaker on the Democratic side of the 3rd District slate. Christensen, a Gainesville business owner, took 34 percent of the vote to overcome Tom Wells and Philip Dodds, who received 33 percent and 32 percent, respectively. Cammack and Christensen will settle the matter on Nov. 3.

U.S. House members serve two-year terms and make $174,000 a year.

Circuit Judge, 5th Judicial Circuit, Group 22

Pam Vergara upset incumbent Circuit Judge George Angeliadis in a tight race for the only judicial seat on the local ballot this year. Vergara, a Brooksville lawyer, received 51 percent of the vote to win the judgeship, which will most likely be in Hernando County, where Angeliadis now serves. The 5th Judicial Circuit includes Marion, Citrus, Hernando, Lake and Sumter counties.

Circuit judges serve six-year terms and make $160,688 a year.