PRIMARY ELECTIONS: Beachsiders face big decisions

Here’s a quick look at the candidates vying for County Commission Districts 2 and 4 and House Districts 52 and 53.

COUNTY COMMISSION DISTRICT 2 …

With Brevard County Commissioner Jim Barfield, of Merritt Island, retiring from the District 2 seat after a single term, two Republicans and two Democrats are vying to succeed him.

Barfield’s predecessor, Chuck Nelson, is seeking to return to the seat and faces Bryan Lober in the GOP primary Aug. 28. The same day, businesswoman Victoria Mitchner and businessman Jack Smink will be squaring off in the Democratic primary. Each party’s nominee will then compete in the Nov. 6 general election. On Merritt Island, District 2 extends south from NASA Boulevard to Dragon Point.

AMONG THE ISSUES: Restoring the ailing Indian River Lagoon; upgrading sewer and stormwater systems; economic development; bringing in more vocational training agencies; building new roads and maintaining existing ones; conserving tax dollars.

THE CANDIDATES

Name: Bryan A. Lober

  • Age: 34
  • Party: Republican
  • Occupation: Attorney
  • Residence: Rockledge
  • Previous elected office: None.

Name: Victoria Mitchner

  • Age: 34
  • Party: Democrat
  • Occupation: Owner, human resources consulting firm
  • Residence: Cocoa
  • Previous elected office: None.

Name: Chuck Nelson

  • Age: 68
  • Party: Republican
  • Occupation: Retired
  • Residence: Merritt Island
  • Previous elected office: County Commission District 2; elected 2006 and 2010; term-limited out in 2014, but County Charter allows him to run again after one term out.

Name: Jack Smink

  • Age: 61
  • Party: Democrat
  • Occupation: Elvis Presley tribute artist, concert marketer
  • Residence: Merritt Island
  • Previous elected office: None.

… AND DISTRICT 4

Brevard County Commissioner Curt Smith, of Melbourne, a Republican, is seeking a second term in the District 4 seat. But former District 3 Commissioner Trudie Infantini wants to unseat him. The two will tangle in the Aug. 28 GOP primary, with the nominee facing Democrat Matthew Fleming in the Nov. 6 general election.

On Brevard County’s barrier island, District 4 extends from the Pineda Causeway south to Eau Gallie Boulevard and includes Patrick Air Force Base, South Patrick Shores, Satellite Beach and Indian Harbor Beach.

TOP ISSUES: Restoring the Indian River Lagoon; repairing broken sewer lines; economic development; tourist development; improving and maintaining roads; keeping tax rates low.

THE CANDIDATES

Name: Trudie Infantini

  • Age: 60
  • Party: Republican
  • Occupation: Certified public accountant; accounting instructor at Florida Institute of Technology
  • Residence: Viera
  • Previous elected office: Brevard County Commission District 3, elected in 2008 and 2012; term limited out in 2016, but allowed by County Charter to run again after sitting out one term.

Name: Curt Smith

  • Age: 70
  • Party: Republican
  • Occupation: County commissioner; retired small-business owner
  • Residence: Melbourne
  • Previous elected office: Brevard County Commission, elected in 2014.

 

HOUSE DIST. 52

Veteran state lawmaker Thad Altman, R-Indialantic, is seeking what would be his fourth full 2-year term in the Florida House of Representatives since 2004.

But Suntree businessman Matt Nye wants to cut off Altman’s time in Tallahassee. The two will be sparring Aug. 28 for the GOP nomination to House District 52. After that, the party nominee will face Democrat Seeta Durjin Begui in the Nov. 6 general election.

House District 52 includes southern Merritt Island and, on Brevard County’s barrier island, runs south from midway between Cocoa Beach and Satellite Beach to the Melbourne Beach area.

TOP ISSUES: Decreasing state taxes and fees; campaign-finance reform; cleaning up the Indian River Lagoon; protecting gun rights; eliminating Common Core from schools; fighting illegal immigration.

THE CANDIDATES

Name: Thad Altman

  • Age: 62
  • Party: Republican
  • Residence: Indialantic
  • Occupation: President and CEO, Astronauts Memorial Foundation
  • Previous elected office: Florida House since 2016; Florida Senate 2008-2016; Florida House 2003-2008; Brevard County Commission 1984-1992.

Name: Matt Nye

  • Age: 46
  • Party: Republican
  • Residence: Suntree
  • Occupation: Regional director, Verteks Consulting
  • Previous elected office: None.

HOUSE DIST. 53

State Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay, is seeking a second term. But he doesn’t have any other Republicans challenging him for the party nomination.

So while Fine doesn’t have a GOP primary this year, two Democrats are set to tangle in their party’s Aug. 28 primary. And either Phil Moore or FiorD’Aliza A. Frias will then face Fine in the Nov. 6 general election. Fine has come under fire from local governments across Florida for his efforts to restrict home rule by introducing legislation that would do away with city and county regulations on businesses

House District 53 takes in the southern part of Brevard County, south of U.S. 192. On the barrier island, it stretches from south of Melbourne Beach to the Sebastian Inlet.

TOP ISSUES: Economic growth; stricter background checks for gun purchases; researching climate change; researching more sustainable energy; making college more affordable and schools safer.

THE CANDIDATES

Name: FiorD’Aliza A. Frias

  • Age: 48
  • Party: Democrat
  • Residence: Palm Bay
  • Occupation: Unavailable
  • Previous elected office: Town commissioner, West New York, N.J., about five years ago.

Name: Phil Moore

  • Age: 44
  • Party: Democrat
  • Residence: Grant-Valkaria
  • Occupation: Medical device instructor
  • Previous elected office: None.

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