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Wednesday forum provides election candidates the opportunity to pitch themselves

Candidates for elected office, both in Key West this year and countywide next year, have a coming out of sorts this week.

The Key West-based Hometown Political Action Committee plans to host what it calls a call for candidates Wednesday at 5 p.m. at the Salute! On The Beach restaurant at 1000 Atlantic Blvd. on Higgs Beach in Key West.

Moderator Todd German said Hometown PAC is doing it differently than it did in years past. He said, besides already declared candidates for the 2015 Key West City Commission and Utility Board of Key West elections, anyone with a desire to run for office can speak.

"This is a unique year because there is not a lot of races," he said.

Interested candidates have no more than two minutes each to speak and introduce themselves to the community. Here's who you can expect to hear Wednesday:

  • For the Key West City Commission District 2 seat, Key West attorney Sam Kaufman, Key West resident Robert "Skip" O'Neil II and former Key West Mayor Morgan McPherson. Current Commissioner Mark Rossi isn't seeking reelection. Commissioners serve three-year terms.



  • For the Key West City Commission District 4 seat, incumbent Tony Yaniz is running against retired restaurant owner Fredy Varela Sr.



  • For the Key West City Commission District 5 seat, Teri Johnston is an incumbent with no declared opponents.



  • For Key West mayor, Keys community newsletter publisher Ed Karsch is expected to speak. Mayor Craig Cates said in January that he might decide next year whether to run again. The mayor serves a two-year term.



  • The Utility Board of Key West oversees Keys Energy Services. Utility Board members Barry Barroso (Group 1), Mona Clark (Group 4) and Charles Bradford (Group 5) are seeking re-election. Members serve three year.

Official candidate qualifying for Key West elections is noon Aug. 17 to noon Aug. 21.

  • For Monroe County public defender in 2016, so far it's Chief Assistant Public Defender Patricia Docherty Gibson and Assistant Public Defender Robert Ryan Lockwood. Public Defender Rosemary Enright is retiring after her fifth four-year term. The term is four years.



  • For Monroe County clerk of court, Republican Kevin Madok, director of strategic planning for the county, has declared. In the 2012 Republican primary, Madok came in second to current Clerk Amy Heavilin, who has not indicated whether she plans to run again in 2016. The clerk serves a four-year term.



  • For Florida Mosquito Control Board District 1 in 2016, Democrat Ralph DePalma is running; current District 1 Commissioner Jill Cranney-Gage has not indicated her plans. In District 3, incumbent Stephen Smith is running again. Mosquito Control Board terms are four years.



  • For Monroe County judge in the Upper Keys in 2016, Sharon Hamilton, director of case management for the 16th Judicial Circuit, and Rob Stober look to replace outgoing Judge Reagan Ptomey. The term is six years.

Key West's general election is scheduled for Oct. 6, while the county's primary election is scheduled for Aug. 30, 2016. The general election is scheduled for Nov. 8, 2016.

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