Mike Ertel being discussed as Secretary of State under Ron DeSantis

Mike Ertel

Seminole County Supervisor of Elections Mike Ertel calls his office “America’s Finest Elections Team,” and it has national awards to back him up. Now he may be in the running to become the state’s top elections official.

Rumors have been swirling since Election Day that Ertel, a Republican who regularly voices a passion for voters’ rights and elections integrity, might be Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis‘s choice for Florida Secretary of State. If so he would replace Ken Detzner.

“I have a lot of respect and admiration for the Governor-elect and what he’s got planned for Florida. I am always interested in serving the state but no offer has been made,” Ertel texted to Florida Politics Tuesday morning after the Tampa Bay Times reported that Ertel may be DeSantis’ choice.

Ertel has been Seminole County’s elections supervisor since 2005. His wife, Michelle Ertel, is a longtime Seminole County Republican operative and commentator who now serves as committee director for BusinessForce, essentially the staff director for that voice for Central Florida’s business community.

“I’ve known Mike for over 20 years, since he was a kid who just got out of the Army. I think if that were true, Florida would be the better for it,” said Seminole County Republican Chairwoman Kathryn Townsend. “He is excellent and makes it a point to know his job well.”

Mike Ertel, who has previously applied for the Florida Secretary of State’s position, has made no secret of the fact that he has aspirations toward the job. Through the years he has modernized Seminole’s elections offices, winning national awards for its website and social media outreach. He has also drawn praise from both Democrats and Republicans for his handling of elections and has been a frequent commentator on the integrity of the elections process and voters’ rights.

“I think he would be an excellent choice, obviously,” said former state Rep. Bob Cortes, the Longwood Republican who served as an adviser to DeSantis’s campaign and was on DeSantis’ list of possible running mates. Cortes said he has heard the rumors but nothing official from DeSantis’ team. “It would be amazing to have him [Ertel] as our Secretary of State.”

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].


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