Florida's first (Federal, judicial) election qualification period runs this week

The first of Florida’s two qualification periods runs this upcoming week, from noon on Monday, April 30 to noon on Friday, May 4. This is the Federal and state judicial election qualification period.

Qualification will occur for United States Senator, United States Representatives, State Supreme Court retention, District Court of Appeal retention, Circuit Court elections and County Court elections.

In the United States Senate race, looks like neither Bill Nelson nor Rick Scott will have any credible primary opposition. No sane Democrat would run against Nelson and Scott’s position is strong enough that he has scared off most challengers.

Most of the 27 United States Representative races will have both vigorous primary challenges as well as general election challenges. Republicans could lose several seats here, given that the State Supreme Court has made the map far more competitive.

C. Alan Lawson is the only Supreme Court Justice up for retention this cycle, three other Supreme Court Justices are retiring at the end of their current term in January 2019 due to statutory age limits.

A number of District Court of Appeals Judges are up for retention.

A very large number of Circuit Court Judge and County Court Judge seats are up for election, fortunately, only a small percentage will likely be actively contested.

The second Qualifying week will run from noon on Monday, June 18 to noon on Friday, June 22. During that week, qualification will occur for the Governor and Cabinet races, both Houses of the State Legislature, county offices and special district offices as well as some municipalities.

A third Qualification period in mid to late August will cover remaining municipal races.

With the First Qualification week complete, looks like the match up of Scott vs Nelson for United States Senator will go directly to the Scott vs Nelson battle. No Democrat is challenging Nelson. There is one Republican challenging Scott but he is Third Tier material and Scott will likely have to waste little time or money on him. Five write-in candidates have qualified and are eligible to receive write-in votes.

Florida has 27 Congressional Districts. Only 2 Congressional races are not being contested. In the 14th District, Kathy Castor has been reelected without opposition and in the 21st District, Lois Frankel has been reelected without opposition. Both districts are overwhelmingly Democrat.

The 15th & 27th Congressional Districts have both turned into full fledged battle royales. Both featured retiring Republican incumbents and both are heavily favored to switch to Democrat in November.

In the 27th CD, 15 total candidates have qualified. 9 Republicans & 5 Democrats will battle for their respective nominations. 1 No Party Affiliation candidate will go directly to the November ballot.

In the 15th CD, 12 total candidates have qualified. 6 Republicans & 3 Democrats will battle for their respective nominations. 3 write-in candidates have also qualified for November.

Democrats have qualified in all 27 Districts, Republicans have skipped District 10, which is primarily Orange County (Orlando) and has trended completely Democrat over the last two decades. The 14th & 21st Districts I mentioned earlier are prohibitively Democratic. The 20th District (black majority) held by Alcee Hastings. The 24th District (black majority) held by Frederica Wilson. So Republicans will be contesting 22 Districts, including the black plurality 5th District that runs from Jacksonville to Tallahassee.

Unfortunately, most of the State Judicial Circuits will feature at least one contested Judicial Elections, as will most County Courts.

The big state qualification period will occur in late June.