By Dawn Krebs
ST. LUCIE COUNTY - With qualifying week for local elections a little more than a month away, a few more have thrown their hats in the ring in a number of races.
In Fort Pierce, the mayor's race increased by one with the addition of Charles Hayek. He joins four others also interested: Linda Hudson, Vincent Gaskin, Curtis Boyd and Christine Coke.
For the Fort Pierce City Commission District 1 seat, Alfredia Wilder-Agnew is the only candidate who has filed so far. The seat is currently being held by Commissioner Reggie Sessions, who has not yet announced his intentions.
There might be some competition for the Fort Pierce City Commission District 2 seat. Incumbent Edward Becht has filed his intention to run again for the position, as has John Morris.
In Port St. Lucie, the two seats up for election this year are in District 2, currently held by Councilwoman Michelle Berger and District 4, currently being held by Councilman Jack Kelly.
Ms. Berger recently filed to run again for her position on the council, and so far is unopposed. Two have filed to run for the other seat, in District 4, Robert Bluestone and Jolien Caraballo.
In the County Commissioner District 1 race, incumbent Democrat Christopher Dzadovsky will face fellow Democrat Wayne Ingram, along with Republican challengers Billy O'Dell and current Fort Pierce Mayor Robert Benton.
The District 3 seat on the county commission is also up for election and currently held by Democratic Commissioner Paula Lewis, who has turned in her paperwork and shown her intention to run again. Challenging her is Republican Debra Swanson.
The County Commission District 5 seat now has seven county residents showing an interest in running for the position.
Republicans Cushman Radebaugh III, Bobby Hopkins and Al Rivett have filed to run for the seat, along with Democrats Patrick Campion, John Culverhouse, Kim Johnson and Charles Grande. The seat is currently held by Democrat Chris Craft, who recently announced his intention to run for tax collector.
Only two seats are up for re-election on the St. Lucie County School Board, Districts 2 and 4.
Carol Hilson, current board member, has filed to run for the District 2 seat. Running alone in the race for the District 4 seat is incumbent Kathryn Hensley.
All constitutional officers in the county are up for re-election this year, including: clerk of circuit court, sheriff, property appraiser, tax collector and supervisor of elections.
As of the end of April, Joseph Smith, the incumbent clerk of circuit court, filed to run, along with incumbents Sheriff Ken Mascara and property appraiser Ken Pruitt. Only the sheriff's position has received additional interest, from Republican Preston DiFrancesco.
Stephanie Morgan has announced her intention to run for supervisor of elections, currently held by Gertrude Walker, who also announced she is running.
The tax collector seat has received interest this year, and three people have filed to run for the position, current District 5 County Commissioner Craft, Johnathan Ferguson and Tom Kindred.
For the St. Lucie West Services District, seat 5, incumbent Charles B. Altwein is the only person who has filed for the position so far.
Anyone interested in running for any political office can pick up qualifying paperwork from the supervisor of elections office, except for city races, where the paperwork can be picked up from the city clerk's office.
The official qualifying period is from June 4 to June 8.