Several political candidates in Okaloosa and Walton counties already have won their races after the election qualifying period ended at noon Friday.
But no one got a free ride in Santa Rosa County, where all offices up for election are contested.
In Okaloosa, county commissioners Carolyn Ketchel and Trey Goodwin, emerged unopposed for the District 2 and District 4 seats, respectively. Patricia S. Grinsted also was the only contender for County Court Judge, Group 3.
“I feel very honored and appreciative of the confidence the people of Okaloosa County have put in me,” Goodwin said. “I am certainly proud to have served our constituents for the last four years.”
As for his next term, Goodwin said he wants the commission to make strides to improve infrastructure and address traffic issues in the north and south ends of the county.
Ketchel has similar views.
“Our roads are the No. 1 issue in Okaloosa County,” Ketchel said. “We have infrastructure needs. Included in that are bike paths to make sure people are safe on the roads. As we become more and more congested, there’s a need to put in wide bike paths for walkers and joggers, because a lot of people come here for ecotourism.”
Ketchel said it’s important for the county to “live within our means,” but also to address the pains that come with growth.
In Walton County, incumbents Kim Kirby, Bill Eddins Jr. and Jason Catalano were unopposed for seats on the School Board. Supervisor of Elections Bobby Beasley also attracted no challengers.
Catalano said he is excited to serve another four years on the School Board, and hopes to tackle issues related to school facilities and state legislation.
“One of the biggest issues right now is keeping up with the growth that we’re seeing and trying to keep our facilities up to par,” he said. “There’s some capital improvements I’d like to see accomplished.”
Catalano said he would like to work with the state to change some education-related legislation that would allow the county more flexibility to grow and make necessary improvements.
The primary election is Aug. 28 and the general election is Nov. 6.