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Tena Pate jumps into Leon County Supervisor of Elections race

The chairwoman of the Florida Commission on Offender Review said Thursday that she will run to be the next Leon County Supervisor of Elections.

Tena Pate joins supervisor of elections employee Mark Earley and termed-out Democratic Rep. Alan Williams in the race to take over for current Elections Supervisor Ion Sancho.

In her announcement, Pate said she hoped to turn Leon County into the “most civically engaged community in the state” and that she would “work to encourage and ensure that all those who can vote will vote.”

Pate has been a member of the Florida Commission on Offender Review since 2003, when she was appointed by then-Gov. Jeb Bush, though her career in Florida politics extends back to 1989, when she worked in Gov. Bob Martinez’s administration.

Part of her plan includes an initiative that would restore voting rights to convicted felons who have completed their sentences.

“We all know someone who has been impacted by crime,” Pate said. “We also know there’s a greater likelihood of success when they become productive and contributing members of society. For many, this means the ability to vote.

“I pledge to continue the same level of services you currently enjoy in our election process and to aggressively explore and pursue innovative ways to make Leon County’s elections process a model for others to emulate.”

Currently, Earley has a financial lead for the nonpartisan office with about $11,000 cash on- hand through November. Williams, who filed in October, has about $4,500 on-hand through his first two months on the trail. Pate’s first campaign finance report, which will cover January, is due Feb. 10.

Earley also has the backing of Sancho, who has held the supervisor position since the 1988 elections. The candidate has worked for the supervisor’s office off and on since 1986 as a voting machine technician, leaving for a six-year stretch in the 2000s to work for a voting machine vendor.

Written By

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.

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