Jon Netts, Charlie Ericksen and Joe Cunnane are in today’s primary election for Palm Coast mayor. Should one candidate win more than 50 percent of the vote, he’ll be the outright winner. Should any of the candidates fail to cross the 50 percent mark, the top two will be in a run-off on Nov. 8, when the two other council seats’ elections are also on the ballot.
It’s really a two-man race: Netts is the incumbent mayor. Ericksen is the insurgent challenger who, judging from three online polls (one here at FlaglerLive, one at WNZF, one by the local tea party) is ahead in every case. None of the polls are scientific, and online polls are particularly unreliable, but they say one thing: Ericksen has made a race of this election, and may well pull what would be the biggest upset in the city’s brief history. Netts has not campaigned nearly as hard despite besting Ericksen in every forum where they’ve appeared together.
Registered voters of either party and independents may cast a vote for any of the candidates at any of the following locations today until 7 p.m.:
Flagler County Public Library, 2500 Palm Coast Parkway N.W.
Palm Coast Community Center, 305 Palm Coast Parkway
Belle Terre Elementary School, 5545 Belle Terre Parkway
Wadsworth Elementary School, 4550 Belle Terre Parkway
Flagler County Schools Building, 5400 E. Highway 100
Matanzas High School, 3535 Old Kings Road N.
Sadly, many people still don’t know that there is an election, or don’t care. In the last mayoral primary in September 2007, just 6,442 people voted, a turnout of just 16.8 percent of Palm Coast’s 38,695 registered voters. It was a three-man race then as well, with Netts easily beating Victor Good (and making a run-off unnecessary) with 63 percent of the vote. Netts has never lost an election in seven straight runs–three for the council in Palm Coast, four in New Jersey. This is Ericksen’s first run at public office.
Cunnane, the ostensible third candidate in the race, has been running for city offices since the city was incorporated in 1999, losing every time and never polling more than 10 percent. He has himself mocked the process more than he has taken it seriously, inviting voters not to take him seriously in turn. They haven’t. But he still may poll enough votes to force the election into a run-off.
Netts and Ericksen gracefully accepted to take part in the FlaglerLive interview. The same set of questions was emailed to both. They answered. The responses were edited and returned to the candidates with follow-up questions or requests for clarifications. Some of those follow-ups were answered, some of them were not, as noted below, though both candidates took time to answer at length, usually in great detail. No limit was placed on their replies.
To avoid surprises, both candidates also received each other’s answers before they were posted here, giving each a chance to address the other’s answers, if the candidate so wished. Netts responded to Ericksen’s answers Monday morning. Ericksen said he would do so as well, later Monday. Those responses appear in blue text.
FlaglerLive’s questions are in bold, follow-ups are in italics. Quick links to the 12 questions appear at the top, and each answer includes a link to the opponent’s answer for easy navigation between the two web pages. As always, the comment section is wide open.
For more on the municipal elections, see also:
- As Voting for Palm Coast Mayor Begins, Netts and Ericksen Duel More Sharply
- Overflow Crowd at a Wonkish Forum for 7 Palm Coast City Council Candidates
- Uncertainty Over: Palm Coast Mayor Jon Netts Makes His Re-Election Bid Official
- Challenging Jon Netts, Charlie Ericksen Runs for Palm Coast Mayor on a Pro-Business Agenda
- Palm Coast Mayor: Tea Party Straw Poll Has Ericksen Far Ahead of Netts, 59-36%
- Incumbents Jon Netts and Holsey Moorman Leading Money Race In Palm Coast Elections
- Paying Tribute to Tea Party Faithfuls, City Council Candidates Hear Tax-Me-Not Earfuls
- Citing Cost and Turnout, Palm Coast Approves Voting and Election-Cycle Changes
- Palm Coast Races: 3 for Mayor, 4 for Council, 2 Elections, No Partridge, No Pear Tree
- Campaign Notes: Defacing Moorman, Excluding Ericksen, Unseating Kim Weeks