Polk Elections

Polk Clerk of Courts and Comptroller Stacy Butterfield, left, Polk Property Appraiser Marsha Faux, Polk Sheriff Grady Judd and Polk Tax Collector Joe Tedder will be automatically re-elected this cycle as they received no challengers.

Four of Polk County's constitutional officers won't have to worry about finding a job come August or November, because no one challenged them in either of those upcoming elections.

The automatically re-elected officers are Polk Sheriff Grady Judd, Polk Clerk of Courts and Comptroller Stacy Butterfield, Polk Property Appraiser Marsha Faux and Polk Tax Collector Joe Tedder.

That leaves only Polk Supervisor of Elections Lori Edwards as a constitutional officer with opposition. Running against the 20-year incumbent is Debbie Hannifan, a Lakeland realtor. Their race will be on the August 18 primary ballots and, since all the constitutional officers run as non-partisans, they are not listed on ballots as Republican, Democrat or otherwise.

Meanwhile, all three Polk County Commissioners up for re-election this year are facing opponents. Hoping to keep their seats are Commissioner George Lindsey, Commission Chairman Bill Braswell and Commissioner John Hall.

Lindsey is facing off against Martin Grenfell, an independent. Lindsey was first elected to the District 1 seat in 2012.

Braswell, a Republican, has Robert Doyel, a former circuit court judge and Democrat, to square off against for the District 3 seat come November. Braswell, winding down his first term in office, is also the board chairman.

John Hall, a Republican, has held the District 5 commission seat since 2012 and faces opposition from former commissioner Neil Combee. That race will be decided in the August primary, since no Democratic candidate jumped into the election fray.

Three county judges also get to keep their benches warm, since they also drew no opposition. The three jurists are Lori Winstead, David Stamey Jr. and Hope Pattey. Former Gov. Rick Scott appointed Stamey and Pattey in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Winstead was appointed just a year ago by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

On the Polk County School Board, only first-term District 4 member Sara Beth Reynolds will keep her seat without a fight, since the non-partisan Winter Haven resident drew no opposition.

It will not be the same for two other board members. Incumbents in District 1 and District 2 — Billy Townsend and Lori Cunningham — both face opponents in the upcoming elections.

Townsend, of Lakeland, is serving his first term and faces off against Lakeland college professor William Allen. Cunningham, a veteran on the board who is serving her fourth term and representing the east county, is from Lake Wales and is challenged by teacher Anita Carson, of Davenport.

Those races will be decided in the general election in November.