Norris won't seek re-election to school post

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By Jeff M. Hardison

While there is a focus on the Jan. 29 Presidential Primary and the vote for tax relief in Florida, records from Bronson and Tallahassee show 11 candidates have opened financial accounts to run for various posts open this year in Levy County and the Eighth Judicial Circuit as of Jan. 3.

Accounts for candidates seeking election as Eighth Judicial Circuit State Attorney, two Eighth Judicial Circuit Court judge seats open this year, Levy County Superintendent of Schools, three Levy County Commission seats, Levy County Property Appraiser and Levy County Sheriff.

The other nine posts are Supervisor of Elections, Tax Collector, County Clerk, two School Board seats and four other circuit court judge posts.

The Superintendent of Schools race produced an announcement from incumbent Cliff Norris, who has decided not to run again.

"After much prayer and thought, I have made the decision to retire at the end of this term," Norris said. Norris has served 34 years as an employee of the School Board of Levy County.

As of Jan. 3, records in the office of Levy County Supervisor of Elections Connie Asbell and Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning reflect accounts opened by relatively early contenders. There are other seats where incumbents or new representatives will occupy after the Nov. 4 general election.

No candidate has completely qualified for election yet, because the period to do that is not until the time between June 16 at noon and June 20 at noon for county seats, and from April 28 at noon until May 19 at noon for circuit court seats.

The Eighth Judicial Circuit includes Levy, Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Gilchrist and Union counties.

There are three people who opened accounts to indicate their intent to run for County Commission seats.

Dave Bibby of Williston is running for the District 1 County Commission seat. Incumbent County Commissioner Tony Parker said he is seeking reelection.

Al Macri of Morriston is running for the District 3 County Commission seat. Incumbent Sammy Yearty said he is seeking reelection.

Jerry Robinson of Williston is running for the District 5 County Commission seat. Incumbent Danny Stephens said he is seeking reelection.

Osborne Barker and Anthony Phillips, both of Chiefland, are running for Levy County Property Appraiser Francis Akins' seat. Akins has also opened an account to show he is running for reelection.

Assistant Superintendent of Schools Jeff Edison has opened an account to show he is running for Norris' seat.

Also in the realm of elected officials who guide public education, School Board members Paige Brookins and Beth Davis said they are running for re-election to their posts, although no one has started an account in those races.

In regard to the top elected official for county law enforcement, Levy County Sheriff Johnny M. Smith Jr. has started an account to show his intent to seek re-election. No other person had opened an account in that race as of Jan. 3.

Levy County Clerk of the Circuit Court Danny Shipp said he is seeking re-election, although no one has started an account in that race.

Supervisor of Elections Asbell said she is seeking re-election, although no one has started an account in that race.

State Attorney Bill Cervone has opened an account to seek re-election, although no one else has started an account for that race.

Public Defender C. Richard Parker said he is running for re-election.

Also in the judicial realm of government, Levy County Judge Joseph Smith is not up for re-election until 2010 but there are six circuit court seats up for election.

Circuit Court Judge David Glant is started an account is seeking reelection for Group 12 of the Eighth Judicial Circuit and Alachua County Judge William Davis is seeking election to circuit court judge for Group 11, where Judge Peter K. Sieg currently presides, according to records in Alachua County and Tallahassee.

Incumbent circuit court judges Phyllis M. Rosier of Group 7, Frederick D. Smith of Group 8, Martha Ann Lott of Group 10 and James P. Nilon of Group 13 are also up for re-election if they qualify during the time when that is allowed, according to records.