Several write-in candidates have qualified to run in the November elections in Manatee County.
The qualifying period ended at noon Friday. As of 12:30 p.m., the write-in candidates, according to the supervisor of elections website include:
-- Annamarie D. Riethmiller, who is running for clerk of the circuit court. She is challenging incumbent Republican R.B "Chips" Shore, who is running unopposed in the GOP primary.
-- Thomas Dell and Scott Findlay, who are running for an at-large seat on the county commission. Incumbent Republican Joe McClash and challenger Betsy Benac are running in the GOP primary.
-- Rodney 'Smokey' Smithley, who is running for supervisor of elections. Smithley had earlier announced he was running for the Republican nomination, but he has dropped that bid. Four Republicans and one Democrat have qualified to run in the race.
Other previously announced candidates have withdrawn their candidacies, including Alphonso Scott Junious, who had earlier launched an independent campaign for sheriff. His withdrawal means the winner of the Aug. 14 Republican primary -- incumbent Brad Steube or challenger William Waldron -- will be elected sheriff.
Junious dropping out means that non-Republicans will also be able to vote in the sheriff's primary.
"All registered voters will be allowed to vote and it should be that way because the office of the sheriff serves everyone in Manatee County, not just Republicans," Waldron said Friday.
Political Watch is keeping a closer eye on local and state government and on politics, from a Manatee County perspective. Marc R. Masferrer is metro/online editor for the Bradenton Herald. Follow him on Twitter @MRMasferrer or email:email@example.com