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Voters Cast Ballots in Bay County Commission Special Election

Voters at polling site in Lynn Haven Florida.jpg
Valerie Crowder - WFSU News
Voters cast ballots at a "super voting" site in Lynn Haven, Florida on Election Day - Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.

Voters in Bay County are choosing among six GOP candidates to fill a county commission seat that's remained vacant for the last four months.

In August, Gov. DeSantis ordered the county to hold a special election to replace Keith Baker, who stepped down from the Board of County Commissioners following his arrest on public corruption charges over the summer.

There aren't any Democratic candidates on the ballot, ruling out the possibility of a run-off election early next year. The Republican candidate who secures the most votes after Tuesday will take the commissioner's seat, even if none win an outright majority.

Here's a list of the Republican candidates vying for the vacant District 4 county commission seat:

Thomas H. Cook
Paul Davies
Doug Moore
Eric Orme
Keith Whitaker
Robert Wright

Before casting her ballot, Janna Naputi, 43, says she really wasn’t sure which county commission candidate to choose. "I honestly don't know half those people." Ultimately, she voted for Paul Davis. “I think I just saw someone holding a sign for Davis," she said. "And that’s terrible. I probably should’ve read up on it.”

Valerie Crowder - WFSU News
Lisa Suggs, 55, cast her ballot during early voting and then brought her daughter to the polls on Election Day.

Lisa Suggs, 55, voted early and accompanied her daughter to the polls on Election Day. To her, only one candidate stands out: Keith Whitaker. Suggs says she grew up with Whitaker and trusts that he’ll serve with integrity.

“He has lived in District Four almost his entire life," she said. "That’s a huge issue for me.”

Local businessman Doug Moore's campaign has spent $84,962 - which exceeds the combined expenditures of the other five candidates.

Moore has also secured endorsements from several local elected officials, including Panama City Beach Mayor Mark Sheldon, Bay County Tax Collector Chuck Perdue and Panama City Commissioner Jenna Haligas.