What is a Candidate?
A “Candidate” means any person to whom any one or more of the following applies
(Section 97.021(5), F. S.):
- Any person who seeks to qualify for nomination or election by means of the petitioning process.
- Any person who seeks to qualify for election as a write-in candidate.
- Any person who receives contributions or makes expenditures, or gives his or her consent for any other person to receive contributions or make expenditures, with a view to bringing about his or her nomination or election to, or retention in, public office.
- Any person who appoints a treasurer and designates a primary depository.
- Any person who files qualification papers and subscribes to a candidate’s oath as required by law.
However, this definition does not include any candidate for a political party executive committee.
County Commission candidates for Districts 1-5 must reside in the district for which they are qualifying at the time of being elected to office;
School Board candidates must reside in the district for which they are qualifying at the time of qualifying;
If required, one’s current position or office must be resigned under the “resigned to run” law (Section 99.012(3), F. S.).
Who can be a Candidate?
- Anyone meeting residency and registration requirements in accordance with Florida Statutes.
- Anyone who is not a registered member of another political party other than the one under which they are filing/qualifying.
Candidate Party Change:
Any candidate seeking to qualify for nomination as a candidate of any political party shall, at the time of subscribing to the oath or affirmation, state in writing that they have not been a registered member of any other political party for 365 days before the beginning of qualifying preceding the general election for which the person seeks to qualify (Section 99.021, F. S.).
Note: Effective upon becoming law May 2011, any candidate who has changed parties within 365 days of the beginning of qualifying will be ineligible to qualify as a political party candidate, but is eligible with no party affiliation.
When do I Announce my Candidacy?
Candidacy may be announced at any time; However, you must do the following:
- File Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository (Form DS-DE 9) with the Supervisor of Elections’ office before any contributions are accepted or expenditures are made (Section 106.21, F. S.);
- File a Statement of Candidate (Form DS-DE 84) within 10 days of filing the Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository (106.023, F. S.). The Statement of Candidate is provided by the Supervisor of Elections;
- A judicial candidate must file a Statement of Candidate for Judicial Office (Form DS-DE 83) within 10 days of filing the Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository (106.023, F. S.). The Statement of Candidate is provided by the Supervisor of Elections.
- Legislative Candidates must contact the filing officer with the Department of State Division of Elections.
What Must I File When I Qualify?
Law requires that a candidate file the following:
If you choose to qualify by paying a qualifying fee instead of the petition method outlined below, the fees are:
- Major party candidates will be 6% of the annual salary of the office sought.
- Nonpartisan office and candidates with no party affiliation will be 4% of the annual salary of the office sought.
- Minor party candidates will be 4% of the annual salary of the office sought, unless the minor party chooses to assess the party fee, in which case it will be 6%.
A campaign check must be drawn on the campaign account payable to the Supervisor of Elections for the qualifying fee.
Special District Candidates are not required to file DS DE 9, appointment of campaign treasurer and designation of campaign depository or open a campaign account unless you collect contributions or spend money for anything other than the filing fee or petition signature verification fee (Section 99.061, F. S.).
Is there an Alternative Method to Qualify as a Candidate?
Pursuant to 99.095, Florida Statutes, a person seeking to qualify for nomination to any office may qualify to have their name placed on the ballot by means of the petitioning process. Candidates who have filed the Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository (Form DS-DE 9) and Statement of Candidate (Form DS-DE 84) may obtain petition forms at: (http://election.dos.state.fl.us/rules/adopted-rules/pdf/DSDE104.pdf). Pursuant to 99.095 (2)(b), Florida Statutes, petition forms are to be reproduced by the candidate. Petition forms must be properly completed and signed by 1% of the eligible, registered voters within Levy County as of the last General Election. The petition requirement for Levy County can be found as listed here: (http://election.dos.state.fl.us/candidate/pdf/ip_countyOffice.pdf).
If my Qualifying Papers are Filed with an Error or Omission, will I be Considered Disqualified?
Pursuant to 99.061(7), Florida Statutes, if the filing officer receives qualifying papers that do not include all items required, the filing officer shall make a reasonable effort to notify the candidate of the missing or incomplete items and shall inform the candidate that all required items must be received by the close of qualifying.
Is it Possible to run for a Different Office after becoming a Candidate?
Yes, under 106.021(1)(a), Florida Statutes, you may change your mind and run for a different office after becoming a candidate, providing that you do the following:
- File a new Appointment of Campaign Treasurer and Designation of Campaign Depository, designating the new office;
- Within fifteen (15) days of the new appointment, notify, in writing, all contributors and offer to return their contributions in full or pro rata. The Request for Return of Contributions (Form DS-DE 86) may be used for such purpose;
- If, after thirty (30) days from this notice, the contributor has not requested his or her contribution to be returned, you may use the funds in the campaign for your newly designated office.
The information contained on this page and other literature is not all-inclusive. If you are running for office, it is your responsibility to become acquainted with relevant Florida election laws and local charters that might have a bearing on your campaign or qualifications to run for an office.