At face value the Republican primary in Santa Rosa County for the Board of Commissioners District 2 nomination looked like any other primary race. Until you noticed that both candidates were incumbent commissioners. Bob Cole is the sitting commissioner in district 2 and is running for his fourth term on the board. Jim Melvin is the current district 4 commissioner, but because of redistricting he now lives in district 2, so to seek a second term on the board he had to run against Cole. Take those circumstances, add an extremely low voter turnout and you get a very close election.
In Santa Rosa, the August 26 Republican Primary features two races for county commissioner. Due to redistricting, the District 4 race is wide open, with six political newcomers seeking the seat and the current office-holder running in District 2.
That means the District 2 race has been left with the unusual circumstance of having two sitting commissioners running against each other.
Bob Cole is the District 2 incumbent. The owner of an auto repair shop for nearly three decades, Cole has held the office for 12 years and is seeking his 4th term.
The final countdown is on toward the beginning of a new school year this coming Monday morning and the school districts on the Panhandle are ready to go. Escambia County School Superintendent Malcolm Thomas says everyone in the district is prepared for the 20145-15 school year. He says there have been some construction projects around the county over the summer that will carry over into the school year, saying Suter Elementary and Earnest Ward are probably the most notable new construction projects that will not be complete for the beginning of the school year.
Early voting got underway Monday in two of the three western Panhandle counties.
Voters in Santa Rosa and Okaloosa Counties can cast ballots prior to the August 26 primary through Saturday, August 23. Tappie Villane, the Elections Supervisor in Santa Rosa, says the stream of people was fairly steady on day one. Those wishing to vote in the primary, either early or on Election Day, will need to bring some form of photo ID.