SEBRING — More names have found their way into the 2020 election roster for local, state and national offices.

The listing has some familiar names, either people running for reelection, have served the community in other capacities or have run for other offices.

Very few are completely new faces to politics or public service.

U.S. Congress, District 17

In 2018, Greg Steube (R-Sarasota) won the election for Congressional District 17, which covers Hardee, Desoto, Charlotte, Glades, Highlands and Okeechobee counties, along with portions of Polk, Lee and Sarasota counties.

Theodore A. Murray (D-Frostproof) has put in to challenge Steube this year.

State Attorney

Brian Haas is running for reelection as state attorney this year with no challengers for the 10th Judicial Circuit.

Public Defender

Howard Dimmig II, Republican, is running for reelection in the 10th Judicial Circuit as public defender, also unopposed.

Florida House District 55

District 55 will be open in 2020 since Rep. Cary Pigman (R-Avon Park) faces term limits.

The field currently includes Jonathan Ned Hancock (R-Avon Park) and Kaylee Alexis Tuck (R-Sebring), along with Tony Munnings Sr. (D-Lake Placid).

For a short while this fall, the field also included Nathan Bassage Nichols of Sebring, but Nichols soon decided to bow out, citing work and family obligations, on which he preferred to focus his time and attention.

Clerk of Courts

County Commissioner Don Elwell (R-Spring Lake), Road & Bridge Director Kyle Green (R-Sebring) and Assistant Clerk of Courts Jerome Kaszubowski (R-Sebring) are all still in the running for Clerk of the Courts, from which Rob Germaine plans to retire this fall.

Elwell has raised $3,332 in funds and $114.38 of in-kind contributions. He has spent $1,787 so far.

Green has raised $17,007 in funds and $7,492 of in-kind contributions. He’s spent $5,777.


Sheriff Paul Blackman is also up for reelection. He’s raised $18,500 in funds and $43 of in-kind contributions, but has spent nothing so far.

District 1

Carmelo E. Garcia (D-Sebring) has thrown his hat in for the Board of County Commission District 1 seat, to be vacated this year by James “Jim” Brooks.

Garcia will face Kevin Roberts (R-Sebring). While Garcia has raised $300 in funds, Roberts has raised $13,500 in funds and $546 of in-kind contributions, and has spent $1,213.

District 2

The seat Elwell will have to vacate as of election day, in order to run for Clerk of Courts, has four candidates, all Republicans: Mary L. Bengtson,

Shird Smith Moore II, Highlands County Republican Party Chair Kathleen G. “Kathy” Rapp and Highlands County Planning Supervisor Joedene Elizabeth Thayer.

Bengtson has raised $100 in funds. Moore has raised $760 in funds and $260 of In-kind donations, and has spent $43.54.

Rapp has raised $,2400 and has spent $362. Thayer has raised $1,200 and has spent $174.

District 3

William Ron Handley, Republican and currently county commissioner, has raised $500 toward his reelection campaign.

Bobbie Smith-Powell, Democrat, has filed to run against him, and has raised $100 toward the campaign.

District 5

R. Greg Harris and Vicki Pontius, both Republicans, are still the only two running for the county commission District 5 seat.

Harris has raised $1,095 and has spent $159. Pontius has raised $1,000 and has spent $229.

School Board

Currently, two members of the School Board of Highlands County have filed to run for reelection: Donna Howerton for District 2 and Janet Lee Shoop for District 3.

Howerton has raised $325 and has $120 of in-kind donations, and has spent $147. Shoop has raised $100 and has spent no money yet.