Incumbents appear safe in races for Pinellas County Sheriff and Supervisor of Elections, according to a new survey from St. Pete Polls.
Republican Sheriff Bob Gualtieri leads his Democratic challenger Eliseo Santana with 56.5% of the vote compared to Santana’s 34%. More than 9% of voters are still undecided.
Supervisor of Elections Julie Marcus, who was recently appointed to fill the position after her predecessor, Deborah Clark, retired, 47% to 41% lead over Democratic challenger Dan Helm. Nearly 12% of voters in that race are still undecided.
Both candidates enjoy overwhelming support from within their own parties, but claim a healthy portion of voters from opposite parties and independent voters.
More than 83% of polled Republicans support Gualtieri while 62% of Democrats favor Santana. Still, Gualtieri claimed 29.5% of Democratic voters in the poll and more than 57% of independents.
Likewise, Marcus, a Republican, claimed 74% support among conservative voters while Helm managed just 67% support from his party. She also lead among independent voters 45% to 40%.
For challengers to succeed, they’d need to appeal to larger portions of Democratic and independent voters.
Gualtieri’s 22 point lead will likely be difficult to bridge. Gualtieri has been in office since 2012 and easily won reelection in 2016. He also heads the Florida Sheriff’s Association, which gives him access to a broad network of financial support.
Gualtieri has banked nearly $110,000 in his official campaign account compared to less than $34,000 for Santana.
Helm also trails in campaign finance, raising just $58,000 compared to Marcus’ more than $85,000. She also has support from her predecessor, an endorsement that carries heavy weight in races for constitutional offices.
August 22, 2020 at 3:32 pm
While Eliseo Santana is known as a pleasant gentleman to talk with, he really has no qualification for the increasingly difficult job of sheriff. Bob Gualtieri is far and away the best law enforcement officer Pinellas has had in decades. Julie Marcus is a very well experienced elections manager in job that is becoming gigantically difficult. We can have confidence in her continuing to show the same excellence in office she showed in the recent primary. That the Pinellas Democratic party has fielded candidates for these jobs merely illustrates its evolution from a legitimate political organization into a public annoyance.
August 22, 2020 at 6:01 pm
The fact that the Democrats have fielded a very qualified candidate -DAN HELM – against Marcus who was handed her job just as her predecessor was handed her job illustrates the fact that the Pinellas Democratic party is alive and very well and on the way to a resounding victory in November.
August 23, 2020 at 12:28 am
Is Bobby gonna be able to do the job after having COVID? It really messed survivors up. Loss of taste/smell. Can’t exert yourself too much etc. I dunno. Mask up don’t be tough guys.
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