Westchase Primary Turnout Steady So Far
Voters share their reasons for voting on Primary Day.
Candidate signs peppered the entrance of the Upper Tampa Bay Library on Tuesday morning as a steady stream of voters filed into the building to cast their Primary Day ballots.
Candidates running for U.S. House of Representatives, the Florida House, County and Circuit Judge, and such local races as county commission and school board are on today's ballot. The primary vote decides which candidate voters would like to see move forward to the final election in November.
Ruby Shannon, a Hillsborough County school bus driver, showed up in support of Hillsborough County School Board candidate Eddy Calcines, who is running against incumbent Susan Valdes for District 1.
"We want change," said Shannon, who is a member of Hillsborough School Employee Federation. "We went with him this year because we want someone to listen."
The employee federation represents about 4,000 school district employees including food service workers, maintenance workers and security. Shannon said the group supported Calcines, and school board candidates Dorothea Edgecomb, Jack Lamb and Carol Kurdell.
Over at the Westchase Swim and Tennis Center, former classroom teacher Sara James was also concerned about education matters when it came to the primary election.
"I'm concerned about the push being put on administrators," said James, a Westwood Lakes resident who planned to vote later in the evening. "It's hurting our teachers because they aren't getting the support they need."
Even though James homeschools her children, as a taxpayer she remains tuned into the public school system.
"I think parents should be asking a lot of questions," James said.
The Westchase Swim and Tennis Center remains one of the busiest polling places in the area, since swimming lessons and camp occurs at the same time as voting. James was one of the parents dropping off children for swimming. To alleviate traffic, the center designated parking spaces for voters.
But the busy scene didn't deter Susan Lafer, a Villas resident.
"I don't ever pass up my opportunity to vote," said Lafer, 66. "This is my right."
Lafer donned a Nancy Jacobs for County Court Judge Group 12 T-shirt. She also supported U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson on Tuesday.
"I agree with his politics," she said.
Jim Taylor, a John Grant for County Judge Group 3 and Connie Mack for U.S. Senate supporter, said getting active in the primary elections gives voters a chance to truly know their candidate come general election time.
"The primary is a time to rally your base to find your Republican or your Democrat and support that candidate all the way to the general election," said Taylor, a legislative aide for State Rep. James Grant. "It's a part of the vetting process."
How was the turnout at your polling place? Let us know in the comments section.