Mayor Does Not Secure Petition Signatures To Run

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Despite being a resident of Fort Myers Beach longer than any other candidate, and having been on the town council for multiple stints since incorporation, Mayor Ray Murphy was unable to produce 49 valid voter signatures to run for council.There are just under 5,000 registered voters on Fort Myers Beach. Murphy will now have to pay a $504 fee in order to qualify to run.

This Friday is the final day to qualify to run for town council.

Verified voter signatures needed to be submitted by May 16th. Candidates are required to get 1% of registered voters to sign their petition or pay the $504 fee. The requirement encourages candidates to get out and meet face-to-face with voters.

Murphy was seen at the recent beach renourishment meeting, held at town hall, asking residents to sign his petition to run. Surprisingly town staff allowed him to gather signatures at town hall, which could have been interpreted to those in the audience as an endorsement of the candidate. That apparently did not help Murphy get over the number of verified voters needed to qualify to run without paying the $504 filing fee.

As of May 1st, Murphy only has $200 in his campaign account ($100 loaned to himself). In addition to the $504 filing fee, Murphy also has to pay a $168 assessment fee this week, which all candidates have to pay.

According to Fort Myers Beach Town Clerk, both John King and Karen Woodson qualified by petition, meaning they were able to secure a minimum of 49 Fort Myers Beach voters willing to sign their petition to run for office.

Patrick Romcoe will also have to pay the $504 filing fee. He explained on our show this past Saturday that he simply did not understand the process and ran out of time to get the 50 signatures. He says he’s going to pay the fee Tuesday.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Seems an odd thing that you buy your way into an election. No matter whom the candidate. Shouldn’t the petition itself be a way to vet the candidates? Seems if you can’t or aren’t willing to get signatures why would anyone want you to represent them? Odd loophole. Should be changed or amended in town verbiage.

  2. Mayor is not an elected position. All council members are equal. Every year the council votes the Mayor in, who’s main job is to run the meetings. Anyone on the council can nominate another council member (or they can nominate themselves). Three yes votes and that person becomes the Mayor. Then they vote for Vice Mayor. Ed

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